How it all Started
Before we address this article’s title, here’s a short refresher on everything that has happened till now. Vijay Mallya was born to a very wealthy businessman running a brewery who liked keeping a low profile. His son was the complete opposite. After his father’s early demise, Vijay took over United Breweries (the booze-making company) and built the Kingfisher brand. He opened pubs and found ingenious ways to overcome the cultural taboo of alcohol. People called him the king of good times and a king of good times he was. The company was very profitable, and Mallya was becoming financially and politically powerful. He was even elected to the Rajya Sabha for two terms. This was the time when he began to widen his horizon. Initially starting with a few other industries, he decided to venture into aviation with his new company, Kingfisher airlines. To give him some credit, the airline was well managed and profitable for a few years. With his personal wealth growing, he brought an F1 team and the Royal Challengers Banglore. What follows is the typical story of an over ambitious, egoistic influential person. Mallya wanted to expand his airline business, and for that, he needed more planes. And to buy planes, he needed more money. So, he took loans from banks to fund his purchases. Soon after, the 2007-08 financial crisis knocked the economy, and the demand for air travel plummeted. Mallya’s business was coming down, which prompted him to take even more loans, which the banks approved despite kingfisher’s poor financial statements. Instead of reviving the company, he diverted the money to his F1 team and continued his excessive lifestyle.
Downfall, Escape and Extradition
Kingfisher eventually shut down. A point came when he could no longer pay his employees, and the debt kept piling up. Despite this, Mallya refused to liquidate his assets to fulfill his debt obligations. He was brought to court by the banks, but because the court did not bar him from leaving the country, he fled to the United Kingdom. Since then, the Indian Government has been trying to extradite him. After waiting for years, in June 2021, the court finally allowed the Indian banks to sell shares of United Breweries, through which they recovered a massive chunk of what they were owed. There’s more, though. Back in London, Mallya’s extradition case had been going on for quite a while, with Mallya appealing to higher courts. This month, his extradition was approved, and his plea to move to the supreme court was rejected. This might finally be it. Vijay Mallya should be coming back home now, albeit in handcuffs with a plethora of cases lined up against him!