Birthday: December 18, 1955
Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Vijay Vittal Mallya
Born in: Kolkata
Famous as: Entrepreneur, Politician
Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Males
political ideology: Independent politician
Spouse/Ex-: Rekha Mallya (m. 1993), Sameera Tyabjee
father: Vittal Mallya
mother: Lalitha Ramaiah
children: Laila Mallya, Leanna Mallya, Siddharth Mallya, Tanya Mallya
City: Kolkata, India
Founder/Co-Founder: Kingfisher Airlines
education: St. Xavier's College, Kolkata
Who is Vijay Mallya?
Vijay Mallya is an Indian businessman and former politician. He lives in the UK and is currently facing several charges of financial crimes. Attempts are being made by the Indian government to convince the UK to extradite him. Known as the “King of Good Times,” Mallya is known for his extravagant lifestyle. He is the chairman of the ‘United Breweries Group’ and the former chairman of the largest spirits company in India, ‘United Spirits Ltd.’ During the most active years of his life, Mallya became the chairman of several companies, such as ‘Sanofi India’ and ‘Bayer CropScience.’ His career as an ace businessman turned turbulent in 2012, when he was accused of multiple financial frauds. In March 2016, he left India and moved to Britain, stating that he wanted to be close to his family. With several Indian banks moving the ‘Supreme Court’ and accusing him of money laundering, a legal case was filed against him. However, the British courts have been fairly lenient with him. Mallya has, of late, denied any possibilities of moving back to India and has claimed that all allegations against him are “fabricated.”
Childhood & Early Life
Vijay Mallya was born on December 18, 1955, in Kolkata, India, into an affluent business family, to parents Lalitha Ramaiah and Vittal Mallya. His father was then the chairman of the ‘United Breweries Group.’ *Vijay completed his school and college education from Kolkata. Upon finishing high school, he enrolled at the prestigious ‘La Martiniere College’ in Kolkata. His leadership skills were quite apparent from his early days, as he was appointed as the captain of the ‘Hastings House,’ at ‘La Martiniere.’ He later enrolled at the reputed ‘St. Xavier’s College,’ also in Kolkata.
While pursuing his education, he started taking a keen interest in the family businesses and interned there too. Soon, he moved to the US to intern at the US-based chemical company ‘Hoechst AG’ and returned to India sometime later to join his father’s business.
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Vittal Mallya passed away in 1983. The same year, at the age of 28, Vijay took over as the chairman of the ‘United Breweries Group.’ The company had initially operated on a smaller level. However, upon Vijay taking charge, it achieved great success and went on to become a conglomerate of more than 60 companies. Its annual turnover too increased significantly.
The core idea behind the success of the company was its focus on alcoholic beverages. Soon, Vijay brought all his major companies under one group and called it the ‘United Breweries Group’ or the ‘UB Group.’ As the company grew more successful, Vijay took over many other companies and brands, namely, ‘Best and Crompton,’ ‘Berger Paints,’ ‘The Asian Age,’ and ‘Cine Blitz.’ All through the 80s and the 90s, Vijay enjoyed great success and fame. He soon became one of the most talked-about businessmen in India.
Toward the late 70s, Mallya launched ‘Kingfisher’ beer, which still remains the highest-selling Indian beer brand, making up more than 50% of the total beer consumed in the country. The beer also gets served in 52 countries around the world and has earned the honor of being the most successful Indian beer abroad.
Meanwhile, ‘United Spirits Ltd.,’ the prime company of the ‘UB Group’ continued its successful run and reached the milestone of having sold 100 million cases. It eventually became the second-largest spirits company in the world, by sheer volume. In 2012, he transferred the managerial control of the company to ‘Diageo’ and retained a minority stake for himself.
In February 2015, Mallya was forced to step down from the post of the chairman of ‘United Spirits’ with a severance cheque of 75 million USD. The payment has been blocked by Indian courts.
The turn of the century further proved to be lucky for Vijay. In 2005, he laid the foundation of ‘Kingfisher Airlines,’ a company which became highly successful due to the world-class facilities it provided to commuters. The Indian domestic-flight market was not considered profitable back then, but ‘Kingfisher’ managed to change the game. Although, a few years later, in 2007, the smooth run of the company was brought to a halt, after it acquired ‘Air Deccan.’
Soon, ‘Kingfisher’ started flying internationally and that marked a downfall for the company. Many business experts claim that it was the biggest mistake of Mallya’s life as the company suffered major losses. By 2009, the company had already been burdened with a massive debt, and eventually, the company operations had to be shut down. Several employees of the company remained unpaid for months, and many small businesses suffered bad debts with ‘Kingfisher.’ This incident is known as one of the biggest and most notorious debacles in the Indian business scenario.
Mallya’s companies own the ‘Indian Premier League’ team ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ since the inception of the annual cricket tournament in 2007. He also happens to be one of the co-owners of ‘Force India,’ the Indian ‘Formula One’ team. Mallya also owns the football teams ‘Mohun Bagan AC’ and the ‘East Bengal Football Club.’
Vijay Mallya has been a politically active personality and has been associated with the ‘Akhil Bharata Janata Dal’ for many years, before he joined the ‘Janata Party,’ led by Subramanian Swamy, in 2003. Mallya served as the party president for 7 years until 2010.
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In 2002, he contested the elections as an independent candidate from his home state of Karnataka with ample support from the ‘Congress Party’ and the ‘Janata Dal.’ Mallya won the election. In 2010, he switched camps and was supported by the ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’ (BJP), which had him winning once again.
In May 2016, Vijay stepped down from his ‘Rajya Sabha MP’ post, a few days after the accusations of his fraudulent dealings and money laundering surfaced in the media. By then, Mallya had already left the country. He had mentioned in his resignation letter that he was “shocked” at the filing of legal cases against him and that he was not hopeful of getting any justice in India and was thus left with no choice but to quit the nation.
On March 2, 2016, Vijay Mallya left India for good, stating that he wanted to stay closer to his family that stayed in Britain. 17 Indians banks accused him of not paying back loans that amounted to more than INR 9000 crores. Mallya had taken the loans to acquire complete or partial stakes in several companies around the world. Following the charges, there were investigations by the ‘Central Bureau of Investigation’ (CBI), and the ‘Income Tax Department’ soon initiated charges of money laundering and financial frauds.
The attorney general mentioned later that Mallya’s assets spread across the world are far more valuable than the 9000-crore debt he owes to the Indian banks. The petition was filed in March 2016, at the ‘Supreme Court of India,’ with the intention of stopping Mallya from leaving the country. However, by then, he had already left India. His passport has been revoked since then.
In April 2017, Mallya was arrested by the ‘UK Metropolitan Police’ as a response to the complaints filed by Indian legal authorities. He continued rejecting the order of the ‘Indian Supreme Court,’ stating that it was partial and that he would never leave the UK.
Further, on October 3, 2017, Mallya was arrested in London over a money-laundering case, but was later released on bail.
In 1986, Mallya married former ‘Air India’ air-hostess Sameera Tyabjee. In 1987, they had a son, Siddharth Mallya. However, the couple divorced a year later. Mallya has claimed that he has been on good terms with his ex-wife even after the divorce.
In 1993, he tied the knot with his childhood friend Rekha, with whom he has two daughters. Rekha had been divorced twice before marrying Vijay. Mallya adopted her daughter, Leila.
Vijay is known to be an extremely religious person. He prays every day and conducts the 42-day ‘Sabarimala’ fast every year. He wears only black clothes during the entire period of the fast. He also happens to be a close friend and follower of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the ‘Art of Living Foundation.’