Mallya's luxury jet confiscated by Indian tax authorities

Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner. Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday 31 July 2010.Vijay Mallya’s private jet has been confiscated by Indian authorities as his debt ridden Kingfisher Airlines remains grounded and turmoil continues to grow for the Force India Formula One team owner.

India Today reports, “The country’s tax authorities have confiscated the Airbus A-319 luxury jet that Mallya was using for his personal trips.

“This after Kingfisher was grounded and over 4 000 employees had not been paid seven months’ salary, Mallya still continued on whirlwind domestic and foreign tours using the jet, which was manned by a special crew which unlike others received salaries on time,” added the report.

In what is being reported as a major embarrassment for the flamboyant businessman, the aircraft was confiscated on 21 December by the Service Tax Department as Kingfisher had not passed on to the government $ 34 million collected from passengers as service tax.

Mallya continues to blame media for negative reporting on the state of his business affairs and in a letter to emloyees has urged them to avoid journalists.

Kingfisher management had promised the employees that their dues till June would be paid by December last year but this did not materilaise. Salaries due to staff last year between July to September have been promised to be paid by March 2013 after recapitalisation of the airline.

Kingfisher, whose flying licence expired on December 31 last year, had recently submitted a revival plan to the DGCA. The aviation regulator, however, did not accept it and asked the carrier to furnish additional details.

The Force India team which carries Kingfisher branding, of which Mallya is the majority owner, has yet to finalise its driver line-up for the forthcoming season although they are scheduled to unveil their 2013 car on 1 February. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.