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Corporate Mar 19, 2013

Snappy answers to Vijay Mallya’s stupid questions

By Anant Rangaswami

"I seriously wonder what motivates Bank Chairmen 2 constantly speak 2 media on loan recovery frm Kingfisher Air. What about others?", Vijay Mallya tweeted last night.

This was followed by another in the same vein. "SBI Chairman -ALL GUNS BLAZING on Kingfisher Loan recovery. ALL MY GUNS BLAZING on restart/rehabilitation Why should v b denied a chance?"

Two questions from Mr Mallya, neither of which is difficult to answer. Yet, they seem to perplex him.

Vijay Mallya. Reuters

Vijay Mallya. Reuters

To answer the first question, bank chairmen constantly speak to media on recover from Kingfisher Airlines because the media asks them questions on the recovery. The media asks them questions because of the extent of the amount of money owed by Kingfisher. It's not small beer, Mr Mallya. "The exposure of banks to the troubled carrier runs intoRs.6,360 crore. Unpaid interest and compounded interest take it to overRs.7,500 crore.

The interest of the media is not limited only to the massive amount owed. It's also due to the way you, yourself, have used the media to your advantage over decades.

You worked on, and gave the media, great photo opportunities, great sound bites, great quotes. You created a persona for yourself that made every step you took and every move you made was followed and covered by the media - and you took advantage of the attention. You built your own brand, and the media attention helped build the brands that you launched.

The media is doing nothing new, Mr Mallya. They've been writing about and covering everything you do for decades. The truth is, when you become a celebrity, media wants to cover everything to do with the celebrity. The good, the bad, and the ugly. When they covered the good, you loved it. When they cover, now, the bad, and the ugly in the form of the state of affairs at Kingfisher Airlines, you don't like it. Too bad.

To answer your next question (ALL MY GUNS BLAZING on restart/rehabilitation Why should v b denied a chance?"), that's even simpler to answer. No one is denying you a chance to restart/rehabilitate. Please do so - but there are some hygiene issues that need to be addressed first.

Begin with paying the banks and your other creditors, including, of course, all those who work for Kingfisher Airlines. If you do just that, and then apply for permission to operate a grateful and shocked government will probably clear it in a jiffy.

Are your questions answered, Mr Mallya?

by Anant Rangaswami

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