As the political fight over Vijay Mallya has escalated, Republic TV has accessed the crucial page 1 of an October 2011 letter which proves that the alleged scamster met with Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and that Congress helped to bail out Kingfisher Airlines. The latest document is another portion of the letter accessed by Republic TV on Thursday, which had Mallya thanking Manmohan Singh for his support towards the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
In the latest letter, dated October 4, 2011 and addressed to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vijay Mallya says, “thank you for sparing time to meet me on September 8th.” The date of the letter is significant as it means at a time that Mallya had a debt of over Rs. 6,000 crore, Manmohan Singh was meeting him with the alleged intent to dole out help.
Notably, as of November 2010, Vijay Mallya had a loan of over ₹6000 crores so the ‘intervention’ by Manmohan Singh came despite that loan amassing
In the explosive letter, Mallya also mentions the purpose of the meeting, which was to explain “the unprecedented difficulties being faced by Kingfisher Airlines due to high price of oil and the ad valorem sales tax averaging 25% imposed thereon.”
He then goes on to write about the problems being faced by the Kingfisher Airlines and the loan he needed from the State Bank of India.
“I had also informed your goodself that we had approached our consortium of Banks, led by State Bank of India to grant us additional financial support urgently by way of increase in working capital and a short term loan. We, as promoters have pumped in Rs 550 crores into the Airline this year itself.”
Putting this letter in further context, on October 6, 2017, Republic TV had accessed a Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report, as per which free upgrades were given to Sonia Gandhi and her relatives when they flew with Kingfisher Airlines. The report had a mail from Vijay Arora of Kingfisher Airlines' sales team to the CFO and other officials of the company revealing that the economy ticket of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was converted into first class ticket in December 2010, without any extra payment for the upgrade.
Now, the newly accessed letter encompasses the fact that months after Gandhi’s alleged free upgrade, Dr Singh, as Prime Minister of India, allegedly helped Mallya with favours for Kingfisher Airlines in 2011.
On Thursday, Republic TV had accessed the second page of the letter which was effectively a ‘thank you’ note from Mallya to Dr. Singh. The explosive note exposed not only Manmohan Singh’s direct intervention on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines, but also, yet another appeal by Mallya for another, larger intervention.
The stunning revelation made it abundantly clear that the then PMO was essentially lobbying with other ministries on Mallya's behalf, so that the sinking Kingfisher Airlines could continue to operate.
The letter came to light days after Republic TV accessed secret papers which exposed communication between the RBI, India's central bank, and the state-owned SBI, India's largest bank and the bank with the maximum exposure to Kingfisher Airlines, where SBI was appealing for modifications to be made to the extant debt restructuring norms for the entire aviation sector simply on account of Kingfisher Airlines' financial travails. While the RBI acceded to at least some of SBI's recommendations, following which SBI provided relief to Kingfisher Airlines, two years later, in 2012, SBI wrote back to the RBI seeking further assistance for Kingfisher Airlines. In this letter, SBI cited that the government was considering the very same FDI policy change that Vijay Mallya sought from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his 'thank you' letter. To this, request, however, the RBI sent back a 'no'.