Millennium Post

No takers for Kingfisher House as Mallya buys time

The auction of Kingfisher House, once the headquarters of Vijay Mallya’s defunct airline, proved to be a damp squib on Thursday with no bids coming in, presumably due to litigation fears and a high reserve price of Rs 150 crore – dealing a blow to lenders’ efforts to recover their loans.

The auction of the property, with a built-up area of over 17,000 sq ft in Vile Parle area near the domestic airport, started at 1130 hrs and ended in about an hour with no success. “There were no bidders. I think the higher reserve price was the reason for it,” said an official involved with the auction conducted by SBI Caps for a consortium of banks led by public sector lender State Bank of India.

The reserve price for Kingfisher House was set at Rs 150 crore, which bidders found to be very high, he added.

The 17-member consortium, which had given loans to Kingfisher Airlines, will soon have a review meeting and may discuss the reserve price as well, sources said. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the banks will recover every penny of loan given to him and investigative agencies will take strong action against the liquor baron wherever he is found to have violated the law. “... his (Mallya’s) facts are very clear. Every government agency, whether its taxation department or investigative agency, wherever he has violated law, is going to take strong action. As far as banks are concerned, they are going to recover every penny of the rupee that they can from him,” Jaitley said. 

Meanwhile, Mallya on Thursday sought time till April for making an appearance before the ED, virtually making it clear he would not present himself before the agency pursuant to summons issued by it in the IDBI bank loan default case.

Officials said the beleaguered businessman has informed the Enforcement Directorate’s investigating officer that he would not be able to keep Friday’s date and sought time till April.

They said the agency officials are mulling options and “studying the reply and reasons” cited by Mallya in his communication and will take a final decision soon whether to grant his request or not.

ED had earlier issued summons to Mallya for “personal appearance” on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
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