India

Vijay Mallya: India property auction fails to find a buyer

his file photo taken on December 21, 2013 shows Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya at the launch of the Kingfisher 2014 calendar in Mumbai. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Mallya is also an MP in the upper house of India's parliament

An auction to sell a property belonging to Indian drinks baron Vijay Mallya has failed to attract any bidders.

Kingfisher House, near the domestic airport in the western city of Mumbai (Bombay), was being sold by lenders to recover losses.

However, bidders appeared to be deterred by the asking price of 1.5bn rupees ($22m; £15m).

The businessman is said to have some $1.4bn of unpaid debts after his Kingfisher airline collapsed in 2013.

Speculation rose about his whereabouts after a consortium of banks and creditors approached the Supreme Court over unpaid debts.

They demanded that his passport be impounded, and that $75m in severance pay he was to receive from Diageo be blocked and used to repay them.

The payout was blocked, but it emerged that Mr Mallya had already left India.

Later in a series of tweets he denied that he was "absconding" as was being alleged in India.

Media reports say Mr Mallya is currently living in London.

Opposition MPs have demanded that the government bring him back to face the law.

Mr Mallya, who is a household name in India, sold a large chunk of United Spirits, which he inherited from his father, to Diageo in April 2014.

He was to receive the $75m payout as settlement after being ousted from the firm in February.

Mr Mallya, once dubbed by Indian media as "India's Richard Branson" and the "King of Good Times" for his lavish lifestyle, also owns a stake in the Formula One team Force India.

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