Vijay Mallya blames govt for Jet Airways crisis

New Delhi: Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya today extended his ‘sympathies’ for debt-ridden Jet Airways and slammed the government for ‘discriminating’ between private airlines and state-owned airlines (read Air India).

In a series of tweets, Mallya said that the collapse of Jet Airways and his Kingfisher Airlines (which is now defunct) is largely due to the policies of the government. He also raised questions over the government’s decision to use 35,000 crores of public funds to bail out Air India.

“Even though Jet was a major competitor to Kingfisher at the time I feel sorry to see such a large private airline on the brink of failure when Government used 35K crores of public funds to bail out Air India. Just being a PSU is no excuse for discrimination,” Mallya tweeted.

In another tweet, the embattled liquor baron, who was famous for his lavish lifestyle, reiterated his offer to ‘pay 100 per cent’ back to the banks.

Mallya said that he invested a large sum of money in Kingfisher to make it India’s largest airline and admitted that it became possible only after he got loans from private as well as public sector banks.

“I invested hugely into Kingfisher which rapidly grew to become India’s largest and most awarded airline. True, Kingfisher borrowed from PSU Banks as well. I have offered to pay back 100 per cent but am being criminally charged instead. Airline Karma?” he tweeted.

Expressing solidarity with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, Mallya said that though Goyal was his competitor, the Jet Airways founder deserves credit for building an airline which made every Indian proud.

“Even though we were fierce competitors, my sympathies go out to Naresh and Neeta Goyal who built Jet Airways that India should be extremely proud of. Fine Airline providing vital connectivity and class service. Sad that so many Airlines have bitten the dust in India. Why?” Mallya said in a tweet.

It may be recalled that earlier Mallya had claimed that the BJP-led government at the Centre was using the Kingfisher crisis to target the UPA government.

Mallya is currently on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017. The 63-year-old liquir baron is wanted in India on alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.