NEW DELHI: Things appear to be going from bad to worse for Vijay Mallya, once known as ‘King of Good Times’, with the board of a company he nurtured into India’s largest liquor maker asking him to quit.
Mallya, already fighting on a number of other fronts including the ‘wilful defaulter’ charges, recently also saw one of the Kingfisher BSE 4.32 % aircraft being sold to a scrap dealer in Mumbai, who sold it after tearning it apart into pieces.
This followed lenders taking possession of Kingfisher House near airport in Mumbai, on which tax department has also staked its claim to recover its own dues.
Mallya, however, continues to strike a defiant note and has refused to step down while taking refuse in “certain contractual obligations” that require United Spirits’ current owner Diageo to back his position as Chairman.
While Diageo is yet to make its position public, sources have said that the UKbased liquor giant, which spent USD three billion (about Rs 20,000 crore) to buy 55 per cent stake in USL, may invoke “certain defaults” on the part of Mallya and his UB Group to support the board resolution of his ouster if shareholders are required to vote on the same.
The board is already dominated by Diageo representatives with Mallya being the only one from his UB Group, which now owns just about 3 per cent stake in USL including a fractional 0.01 per cent in his name.
Mallya has been in the dock ever since his ambitious airline venture Kingfisher landed in financial troubles and got eventually grounded in October 2012.
Thereafter, Mallya had to sell some of his assets, including controlling stake in USL to Diageo.
The UB Group, where Mallya became chairman at the age of 28 after death of his father in 1983, was considered one of India’s largest conglomerates till a few years ago with turnover of over USD 4 billion and market value of USD 12 billion.