Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday once again offered to pay up the money he owes to Indian public sector banks. In a tweet, he said that he wants to end the "narrative that he stole money" from various lenders. He also maintained that there was no connection between his proposal and the extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Agusta Westland chopper deal. Michel was brought back to India on Tuesday. "Respectfully to all commentators, I cannot understand how my extradition decision or the recent extradition from Dubai and my settlement offer are linked in any way. Wherever I am physically, my appeal is "Please take the money". I want to stop the narrative that I stole money," he wrote in a tweet. On Wednesday, Mallya had tweeted that he is not a defaulter and repeated his claim that he is ready to repay "100 per cent" of the money owed to Indian banks. He also expressed surprise why his offer made since 2016 has been refused. Mallya is facing extradition from the United Kingdom to India, a judgement in the high-profile case is due in the Westminster magistrates court on Monday. He is facing charges of financial irregularities running into thousands of crores in India. just before a debt court in Bengaluru was set to act against him for defaulting on loans issued by several public sector banks led by State Bank of India, Mallya fled India in March 2016. The successful deportation of arms dealer Christian Michel to India has rekindled the hope that soon some of the fugitive businessmen from India who have taken shelter in the UK and elsewhere would be extradited to India. Apart from Vijay Mallya who reportedly owes over Rs 9,000 crore to Indian public sector banks, jewellery businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi figure prominently among the businessmen who have fled the country after availing bank loans to the tune of billions of dollars. In fact, there was a similarity in the way Vijay Mallya, Neerav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled from the country. All of them had an idea that their misdeeds would not continue for long and they are about to be brought to justice. In order to escape from the law enforcement and investigative agencies, these businessmen took a flight secretly and left the country. Ever since they fled after bleeding the public sector lenders, the investigative agencies are on their toes to find their whereabouts and try to get them extradited to India. Though the process is not easy, the Indian establishment has shown a strong will to get them extradited and make them face the due course of law. As of now, a breakthrough has not been achieved as far as their extradition is concerned but slowly the noose against these fugitive businessmen is tightening. The extradition of Christian Michel has given a fresh hope that the efforts by Indian investigative agencies to bring back the fugitive businessmen to the country will eventually bear fruits. Perhaps, sensing the ultimate outcome of this protracted tug of war, Mallya has offered to pay up whatever loans he owes to the banks. But he is saying that he has made the same offer two years back but banks are not willing to reach a settlement with him.
Indian public sector banks are going through a rough patch because of the banking scams that have been reported in the fast few years. But before these scams came to light, the issue of non-performing assets (NPA) or bad loans hogged the media headlines. The Indian public sector banks are sitting on a huge pile of NPA running into over six lakh crore rupees. It is not that only Vijay Mallya, Neerav Modi or Mehul Choksi have taken a huge amount of banks' money and refused to repay, there are a whole lot of other businessmen who have taken similar loans from the banks and failed to pay up. The dilemma that the public sector banks are facing today is what to do with the NPAs and the businessmen who have deliberately refused to pay the loans. Given the lack of options with banks or investigative agencies in these cases, Mallya and the like have believed that they can do away with repaying the loans and can live outside India without requiring to face the due course of law. As in the case of Mallya, a UK court is about to deliver its judgement on Monday. If the court rules in favour of the Indian banks and the investigative agencies seeking his extradition to India, it will be the end of the road for the fugitive businessmen. He will have no option left but get back to India and face the law. But if the UK court rules in favour of Mallya, it will further embolden other businessmen who are trying to escape out of the country after defaulting bank loans.