The service tax department through a public notice issued on Tuesday announced the e-auction of an Airbus business jet, which it had seized from beleaguered industrialist Vijay Mallya in 2013 in a bid to recover its dues. On March 15, The Economic Times reported that the tax department is looking to recover “service tax dues” to the tune of Rs 812 crore.
The A319-133CJ business jet which is registered in India as VT-VJM — Vijay Mallya’s initials are VJM— is being e-auctioned by MSTC Ltd, a government of India enterprise.
Mallya, who is presently out of the country after having stepped down as chairman of United Spirits Limited, is being chased by various creditors of his erstwhile airline company Kingfisher Airlines, which owes Rs 9,000 crore to a slew of public sector banks.
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Last week, a banking consortium led by the State Bank of India, was unsuccessful in trying to auction Kingfisher House, a 3,988 square metre property of Kingfisher Airlines in Mumbai. The reserve price of Rs 150 crore for the property was said to be too steep.
According to the public notice by the service tax department, the e-auction of Mallya’s private jet will take place on May 12 and 13. Prospective buyers can inspect the aircraft from April 2 to May 10. It, however, did not mention what the base auction price of the aircraft would be. The average list price of a new A319 aircraft as of 2015 was $88.6 million.
“The aircraft is a corporate jet, having a seating capacity of 25 passengers and six crew members, exclusively designed for exotic and luxurious use. The aircraft has attractive exterior and interior layout and design,” read the public notice, which was issued by the office of the commissioner of service tax - V, in Mumbai.
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As per details on the website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Mallya’s private jet is owned by a company CJ Leasing (Cayman) Ltd which is based in the tax haven of Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands. Kingfisher Airlines was only the operator of the aircraft, which was manufactured in 2006.
An online news report in the Business Standard on December 5, 2015, said, “Mallya’s personal jet, five ATR planes and two helicopters were impounded by the service tax department in 2013.”
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