Vijay Mallya feels ‘sorry’ for Jet Airways; asks why many airlines have failed in India

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NEW DELHI: As Jet Airways stares at shutdown, embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday took to social media and stated that he “feel sorry to see such a large private airline on the brink of failure.” Calling Jet a major competitor to now defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), Mallya also questioned the huge sum that was used to bail out debt-laden Air India.

The 63-year-old businessman took to Twitter this morning and again repeated his offer to pay 100 per cent back to the state-owned banks.

Take my money, save Jet Airways, Vijay Mallya tweets again

In a series of tweets posted in the early hours, Mallya said, “Happy to see that PSU Banks have bailed out Jet Airways saving jobs, connectivity and enterprise. Only wish the same was done for Kingfisher.” Goyal along with his wife Anita stepped down on Monday following which lenders agreed to pump in Rs 1,500 crore to bail out the financially troubled airline.

“I have offered to pay back 100 per cent but am being criminally charged instead. Airline Karma?” Mallya tweeted.

“I am willing to pay either way whether I am in London or in an Indian Jail. Why don’t Banks take the money I offered first?” the founder of KFA asked in another tweet. He added that his offer to pay back his loans stands irrespective of where he is “in London or in an Indian jail” as he does not feel “spooked” by possibilities of extradition.

Extending sympathy for Jet founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Neeta, Mallya said that India should be “extremely proud” of the airline for providing “vital connectivity and class service”. He also questioned why so many airlines have failed recently.

Jet Airways on Tuesday evening had sent a final SOS to banks for immediate release of at least Rs 400 crore to avoid a complete shutdown by end of day. While the airline is still waiting to hear from banks, aviation authorities have meanwhile started frantic efforts to rein in runaway fares as a fallout of Jet — which had a fleet size of 124 last November — is operating just five planes as of Tuesday.

Mallya is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). He has also defaulted to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.

The fugitive business tycoon remains on bail as he awaits an oral hearing to be listed by the UK high court for his appeal against his extradition ordered by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London last December and then signed off by UK home secretary Sajid Javid in February.

A first level of that written appeal has already been rejected by the high court, where it will now be considered during a brief hearing to determine any grounds to grant permission for Mallya’s appeal to proceed to appeal substantive hearing.





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