The king of good times was dethroned in 2012 when his airline business came crashing down and with that, his public image. Vijay Mallya continues to put up a brave face for the public, but this year has undoubtedly been one of his worse in recent times.
Alarm bells starting going off last year when Kingfisher's bank accounts were frozen by the I-T department in December due to non-payment of dues. A consortium of 17 lenders had loaned the company Rs 8000 crore and also began to line up to demand payment of dues. These lenders have issued a 'final call' for clearance of dues and it remains to be seen if Mallya can cough up the money to settle payments.
Mallya's employees were also an unhappy lot and made their displeasure public, when the company failed to pay them for several months. Pilots and ground staff went on strike and as a result, several flights were grounded and commuters were left stranded. Mallya tried reasoning with the pilots, begging them not to 'disgrace' the company but his unpaid staff were in no mood to listen.
Dirt hit the ceiling fan when a non-bailable warrant was issued against Mallya for a bounced cheque in October. All this controversy also affected the UB group's stock value, that went tumbling every time a negative report emerged.
Mallya kept a brave face on all year long and continued to make public appearance aplenty. Following the brickbats he received for his announcement to invest Rs 50 million pounds in his Force India team while other debts remained unpaid, he was most recently spotted partying with Paris Hilton in Goa.
Vijay Mallya photographed at the Falguni & Shane Peacock party in Goa, that was also attended by Paris Hilton. Photo: Getty Images
Left with only bills to pay, Mallya sought to make some money by selling other assets. Diageo purchased a majority stake in United Spirits for Rs 11,000 crore and there were even rumours that Mallya had decided to sell off the Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia he had famously purchased for over Rs 9 crore at an auction in 2009.
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