M&M’s: The Nemeses of PSU Banks

A flamboyant liquor baron once hailed as the King of Good Times,
Is now the subject of an extradition effort to face charges of financial crimes.
The Kingfisher story has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride,
Mr. Mallya has been high on success but in the eyes of the judiciary, he is no longer bona fide.

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The chairman of United Breweries Group owing $1.4 billion has been labeled as an absconding criminal,
His back is against the wall and the chances of his acquittal are minimal.
There was a time when Mr. Mallya could do no wrong as under him the annual turnover of UBG increased to $US 11 billion,
They acquired Berger paints, Best & Crompton and he even managed to buy his way into M. Chinnaswamy’s cricket pavilion.
Mr. Mallya believed in the YOLO philosophy and truly lived life king size,
He bought Kingfisher Airlines on his son’s birthday in May 2005 hoping to rule the skies.
The highly competitive airline industry was known to be a capital guzzler and this, after all, was a fledgling airline,
Mallya thought otherwise and like all his other ventures was confident of making Kingfisher a goldmine.

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Mallya moved to acquire a bleeding Air Deccan in 2007 paying 550 crores to buy a 26% stake in the low-cost carrier,
This is what many experts feel made his life a lot less merrier.
Things went downhill as Kingfisher’s finances floundered, losses surged as oil prices started to climb,
Mr. Mallya did not bat an eyelid and tried to wade through the rough tide.
By 2009-10, Kingfisher Airlines had accumulated a debt of 7000 crores and had been declared a non-performing asset,
The extravagance of its promoter who was then a Rajya Sabha MP ensured that it was a widely publicized descent.
In 2012 Kingfisher airlines was grounded casting a shadow of doubt over its future,
Mr. Mallya’s world as he knew it was falling apart with Kingfisher being the wound and the mounting debt, the suture.
The service tax department moved the Bombay High Court asking for the impounding of Mallya’s passport,
The airline’s flying permit was withdrawn, aircraft and helicopters seized,
It was mighty obvious by the government’s crackdown that the banks were peeved.

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The United Bank of India was the first lender to declare Mallya as a wilful defaulter,
SBI and PNB followed suit but ICICI bank was proactive and smarter,
They managed to sell their 430 crore Kingfisher loan exposure to a Kolkata based debt fund,
The ‘Sarkari Indian Banks’ had no choice but to convince themselves that they were going to get a refund.
Now Mr. Mallya did some quick thinking and realized that his fairytale would not have a happy ending if he was to continue his affair with Mother India,
He bid adieu to India in March 2016, shifting to Britain to be closer to his children,
Clearly impervious to the Indian media’s portrayal of him as a fleeing villain.

Let us now switch our focus to the other M, the diamantaire from Gujarat,
Rumored to be suave, cultured and willing to accept a mistake
He dropped out of Wharton at the age of 19 in his bid to become great.
He was born in a family which was into diamonds for seven generations,
He ventured out on his own and started Firestar Diamond International with sky-high aspirations.

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The business acumen that ran in his veins did not let him down,
His exponential financial growth was the talk of the town.
For a person who got into luxury fashion jewelry by chance, Nirav Modi’s progress was staggering,
His clientele included those who frequented red carpet events like the Oscars as his designs were awe-inspiring.
He was known for his innovations as some of his designs were stretchable!
He came up with new diamond cuts while his “Golconda lotus necklace” is famed to be impeccable.
The only Asian fashion jeweler to have a presence in Madison Square who cuts diamonds “like no one else” now faces a bleak future,
Mr. Modi’s business has been flung into uncertainty, the Indian media following his exposé has labeled him a looter.
On January 29th, 2018 the CBI received a Rs 280 crore cheating complaint against Modi, wife Ami, his Uncle Choksi got them booked,
A couple of PNB employees had fraudulently issued LOUs, hoping that it would be overlooked.

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Modi and family had pre-empted the fact that the law would eventually catch up with them,
On February 14th the number of fraudulent transactions was revised to Rs 11,000 crores and the Indian media cried mayhem.
Modi and family flew out of India on January 1 and rumors are that he has closeted himself in a plush suite in New York,

The Indian billionaire has clearly outsmarted the ‘Sarkari Indian banks’, a trend the ’King of Good Times’ had once made his trademark.

The tale of M&M’s is the tale of two scamsters who swindled public money,
They hoodwinked the bankers and gamed the system to perfection,
It is high time the Public Sector Banks did some introspection.

By Chitranjan Jain

 

 

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