The desperate efforts of Indian agencies to get Vijay Mallya back to India to recover Rs.9.000 crore that his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes public sector banks seems to have had little impact on the liquor baron. Or, so it seems from his online activities.
Mr. Mallya, who left for London on March 2 using his diplomatic passport, has since remained active on Twitter through his verified account, uploading 10 to 15 messages almost every day.
In the past 24 hours, he re-tweeted over a dozen messages from Kingfisher, Royal Challengers, Heineken India and Sahara Force India. They feature in his re-tweets regularly. Mallya has 5.09 million followers.
The banks which extended loans to Kingfisher Airlines — and a few days ago turned down Mr. Mallya’s repayment plan submitted to the Supreme Court — have decided to auction the company’s trademarks, including the brand value of Kingfisher logo, in order to recover the dues. The online auction will be held on April 30.
A month ago, Mr. Mallya resigned from the directorship of Royal Challengers Sports Private Ltd.
Even on Friday, when the External Affairs Ministry suspended his diplomatic passport for four weeks, Mr. Mallya did not stop tweeting. However, on the following day, there was just three re-tweets, including one on his Sahara Force India Formula One team in reference to the ongoing Chinese Grand Prix.
Now that Mr. Mallya’s passport has become temporarily invalid, he would not be able to attend the event.
Having left the country on March 2, Mr. Mallya remained quiet for almost a week on the sharp criticism he received from all quarters.
Four days later, he re-tweeted a media report quoting him as saying he was not an absconder and he would continue to cooperate with investigators.
However, through a series of tweets on March 10, he launched an attack on the media. “Once a media witch-hunt starts, it escalates into a raging fire where truth and facts are burnt to ashes. News reports that I must declare my assets … Does that mean that Banks did not know my assets or look at my Parliamentary disclosures?” he messaged.