Mallya blames media, seeks to clarify why Kingfisher failed

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Bengaluru, March 6 (IANS) In a damage control exercise, beleaguered industrialist Vijay Mallya on Sunday blamed media for spoiling his reputation and sought to clarify why his dream airline Kingfisher failed.

“The past few days have witnessed a near hysterical campaign in the media directed against me,” 60-year-old Mallya said in a belated statement here.

Accusing media of indulging in sensationalism, he said he felt the time had come to clarify his position in order to avoid relentless attack on his reputation.

“I have always lived an honourable life and the calumny notwithstanding, shall continue to do so. As to the allegations in media, all I can say is I hope some sobriety and sense will prevail and truth not held a hostage to TRPs.”

Recalling that Kingfisher was launched in 2005 on the basis of viable business plan vetted by SBI Capital Markets and international aviation consultants, Mallya admitted that despite every effort, the airline was an unfortunate commercial failure caused by macro-economic factors and then government policies.

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“The truth about Kingfisher Airlines and its financial stress due to external factors has been reported by State Bank of India (SBI) to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in their letter dated 31st January 2012,” he said in the statement.

Mallya’s statement comes ahead of the Debt Recovery Tribunal’s order on the four interlocutory applications (IAs) the SBI moved on March 2, seeking his arrest, impounding his passport, disclosure of his assets in India abroad and first claim to the $75 million deal he had signed with British liquor major Diageo plc on February 25 for resigning as chairman of its Indian arm United Spirits Ltd (USL). The tycoon also said he would move to Britain to be with his family.

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