New Delhi: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is facing extradition proceedings in UK, on Wednesday took to Twitter to draw parallels with the case of Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha, who in his suicide letter has alleged “harassment” by the Income Tax Department officials.
Calling Siddhartha an excellent human and brilliant entrepreneur, Mallya alleged that he is being harassed in the same manner as the Cafe Coffee Day founder.
“I am indirectly related to VG Siddhartha. Excellent human and brilliant entrepreneur. I am devastated with the contents of his letter. The Govt Agencies and Banks can drive anyone to despair. See what they are doing to me despite offer of full repayment. Vicious and unrelenting,” he tweeted on Wednesday morning.
I am indirectly related to VG Siddhartha. Excellent human and brilliant entrepreneur. I am devastated with the contents of his letter. The Govt Agencies and Banks can drive anyone to despair. See what they are doing to me despite offer of full repayment. Vicious and unrelenting.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) July 30, 2019
"In western countries, the government and banks help borrowers repay their debts. In my case they are obstructing every possible effort for me to repay my debt whilst competing for my assets. As far as the prima facie criminal case goes wait for the appeal granted," he said, also retweeting a series of other messages related to the financial pressures on Siddhartha.
In a reference to the latest proceedings by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him in India, Mallya reiterated that McDowell Holdings Limited is an independent listed company in India and the suggestion by the Indian investigating agencies that it is a "dummy" company is "preposterous".
"All my financial affairs including my sources of income and expenditure are fully disclosed before English Courts in proceedings initiated by Banks," he said.
Mallya also sought to distance himself from any connection with Shashikanth, a former managing director of United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL), saying he had no contact with him for the past three years. He also denied any knowledge about Shashikanth's company Ultimate Branding Worldwide or its activities and claimed he had never heard of and had no connection with Tammy International Dubai being linked with Mallya as part of the ED investigation.
The businessman branded the latest allegations an "inaccurate version of facts" and once again took aim at the media for publishing "nonsense" for sensational headlines about him.
Mallya remains on bail pending his UK High Court appeal, now scheduled for February 2020, in the extradition proceedings brought by India in relation to charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores.
The body of Siddhartha, founder of India's largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day and son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader SM Krishna, was found in the Netravati river on Wednesday morning.
In his letter, Siddhartha blamed one of his private equity partners for “creating pressure” to buy back stocks. “I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction, I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend,” he wrote.
The letter also alleged harassment by the previous DG, Income Tax. “There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Cafe Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This is very unfair and has led to serious liquidity crunch,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on August 2 a plea by Mallya challenging the confiscation of properties belonging to the companies owned by him and his family members.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of F S Nariman, appearing for Mallya, that the fresh plea be heard along with the pending one on the legality of the law and the action to confiscate the properties.