Trouble seems to be increasing for fugitive liquor baron, Vijay Mallya as his private jet, Airbus A 319 (VT–VJM), which was auctioned to Florida-based Aviation Management Sales (AMS), which won the bid for the aircraft for Rs 34 crore in June last year, is being dismantled at the Air India hangar for the past few weeks as making it fly-worthy had become difficult.
After Kingfisher Airlines was grounded, the Service Tax Department had seized the aircraft. The AMS had won the bid after three previous bids were filed to attract any buyers. But were unable to take possession of the aircraft because of bureaucratic reasons.
However, since the jet was not fly-worthy, the aircraft was towed from the Lima apron along Maharashtra’s Kalina Kurla road to the Air India hangar on February 13th.
The plane was attached by the service tax department in December 2013, in its attempt to recover the tax dues of over Rs 800 crore from Kingfisher Airlines. However, the service tax department was forced to sell the aircraft after the Mumbai airport operator MIAL moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the department citing heavy losses on account of the non-productive use of its space.
The auction, in the past, had failed as the bids were much below the reserve price, which was cut to $12.5 million from $22.5 million initially.
Vijay Mallya is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI in India on the charges of Money Laundering, Fraud and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). His Kingfisher airlines owe around ₹9000 crore of debt to creditors, and Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) has attached a significant amount of properties belonging to Mallya.
Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate, probing the case had, in its attempt to recover the loan amount, allowed banks to sell his attached shares in the United Breweries after court clearance.
Further, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had submitted a request with Swiss authorities to block funds in four bank accounts belonging to Vijay Mallya, and also to provide the detail of the accounts. Following this, the Federal Supreme Court had ordered that the Swiss authorities are free to provide the detail of the bank accounts of Vijay Mallya to India, and also to block the accounts as per India’s request.
Moreover, after a special PMLA court in Mumbai had at the beginning of this year, declared liquor tycoon and former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Mallya as a fugitive economic offender there were reports, that his properties could now be confiscated by the Government of India.
In October last year, a London court had ordered confiscation of 6 highly expensive cars in possession of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, to repay Indian Consortium of Banks’ Rs 10,000 crore. This came after London HC ordered enforcement agencies to raid two of Vijay Mallya’s homes and take in possession goods after Mallya lost the case against Bangalore Debt Recovery Tribunal in court.
The Indian government is also trying hard to extradite Vijay Mallya from England to India. On 31st July, UK court had asked Indian authorities to submit a ‘step by step video’ of the prison where Mallya would be kept. CBI had submitted nearly 10 minute-long video, about the conditions of the prison, Mallya would be kept in.
Trying his level best to evade the extradition process, fugitive liquor baron, Vijay Mallya has filed his application in the UK High Court, seeking permission to appeal against the extradition order signed by the British Home Secretary.
Mallya left India for London in March 2016 soon after lenders to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines declared him a wilful defaulter.