Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya (centre) poses with air stewardesses during the launch of the new budget Kingfisher Airlines in Bombay July 28, 2004.Reuters file

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Monday that controversial businessman and and promoter of UB Group Vijay Mallya has discredited both himself and the private sector as a whole by defaulting on bank loans. Mallya's now-defunct airline Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) owes about Rs 9,000 crore to Indian banks, mostly state-owned.

"He has not only brought himself a bad name, he has also brought a terrible name to private sector entrepreneurs in the country," he said during at an event in Mumbai, reported PTI.

"The sooner he settles his dues to the banks the better it is for the private sector," he added.

Mallya's flamboyant lifestyle also came in for flak from Jaitley who asked: "How long can you lead a life like this?" 

Mallya left for London March 2 even as banks were pursuing a legal course to recover the money from him and KFA, finally moving the Supreme Court, but in vain. He did not respond to the first summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate to appear March 18. He has now been directed to appear April 2. 

Jaitley justified the government's decision to lower interest rates on small savings, including PPF, and the decision to impose EPF withdrawal tax, which was subsequently rolled back on strong backlash by the opposition and the people.

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