Vijay Vittal Mallya is a 64 years old fugitive businessman and a former member of the parliament. Vijay Mallya has become a subject of extradition for the Indian Government in recent times. He is infamously known as the financial criminal of India. He is one of the few billionaires of the Indian economy. Which failed to last as one of the richest empires.
Vijay Mallya is the son of an army doctor who started his business by acquiring companies. He launched the Kingfisher airlines, his major business venture in 2005. Mallya also became a member of the Rajya Sabha in his home state Karnataka. He married his first wife Samira Tyabjee Mallya in 1986 and married for the second time in 1993. He did his graduation from Kolkata and had a very ordinary upbringing.
Building an empire:
The business Tycoon is also termed as the ‘playboy’ in the industry. Mallya soon proved his worth by becoming a shrewd dealer. His flamboyant empire started soon after he inherited his father’s company UB( United Breweries) . He became the Chairman and CEO. Under him, the company acquired a few more companies. While conglomerating over 60 businesses. The UB company became famous for its hard liquor and kingfisher beer. Soon the company developed into other fields as well. Such as Life Sciences, IT, Chemicals, etc. Finally, in 2005, he entered the aviation market with his Kingfisher Airlines with the catchy slogan, “ The king of good times”.
In very less time Kingfisher became one of the biggest airlines in India. With many new services and luxuries that other airlines did not have. Its domestic market share is 9% with the merging of Air Deccan. Some of his famous companies included big names. Like Cadbury, Kissan, Hoechst, and Rousell, Berger paints among others.
Mallya is also known for his successful bidding in auctions. He received awards from both India and abroad. Kingfisher also diversified further by opening a Formula-One team, a Cricket team and a Football League. His accomplishments acquired him the title of ‘Richard Branson’ of India. He lived a ‘king-sized’ lavish lifestyle too and spent his vast fortune on luxuries. Rightfully so, his high-profile lifestyle always created a stir among the public. His outspoken personality and celebrity image made him an ambassador for the Richest of the rich.
What went wrong?
Mallya decided to grow more. This stubbornness of his led to disasters. His airline Air Deccan provided low cost flying with premium facilities. To expand his empire and to fill in the luxury facilities in his business were fuelled by money. He borrowed from various banks like SBI(State Bank of India). He was already burdened by the money borrowed for Kingfisher.
Then the oil prices rose and the Airline started losing money. Mallya could have quit the business and cut its losses. But instead, he held onto it and restructured his loans with the banks. Even though he had quit his non-profitable businesses before. Like handing Kissan over to Nestle. Now the Airlines got filled with creditor problems and money negotiations. Still, Mallya refused to let go of the Airlines. Soon the loans and credits kept piling up and his economic environment failed to recover the losses.
The Bank Defaulter:
The most prolific businessman of the country was now declared a ‘Wilful Defaulter’ by the banks he borrowed from. The banks including SBI and The Punjab National Bank. The Enforcement Directorate(ED) reported that it had “provisionally attached” Rs.1,411 crore( 200 million USD) worth of Mallya’s Indian assets and properties against unpaid loans totaling Rs.807 crores( 110 million USD).
He was denied bank credit to all his funds and was FORCED to get out of the liquor business completely. Lastly, he handed his liquor business to his erstwhile partner Diageo of the UK in a deal. Mallya also resigned from the board of directors of UB, still, he denied any wrongdoing.
The bank Governor Raghuram Rajan took a dig at Mallya and tweeted, “If you flaunt your birthday bashes even while owing the system a lot of money, it does seem to suggest to the public that you don’t care”.
After a year Diageo promised to pay Mallya $75 million and drop all the claims. But he is still considered accountable to the bank authorities.
Mallya fled the country in the March of 2016 to London. Still owing 9,000 crores to Indian banks and leaving 13,000 crores assets behind. In February of 2019, the UK approved Mallya’s Extradition Bill for his return. Mallya to this day is hiding within the protective laws of the UK.
Finding loopholes in The British Law for his escape as his return remains plausible. As he constantly opposes the Extradition.