New Delhi: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya's private jet, Airbus A319, is being dismantled by Air India at its hangar in Mumbai.
The jet was auctioned to Florida-based Aviation Management Sales (AMS), which won the bid for the aircraft for Rs 34 crore in June last year. However, it was unable to take possession of the aircraft due to bureaucratic hurdles.
Parts of the dismantled aircraft will be sent to Aviation Management Sales. The aircraft was towed on February 13 from the Lima apron along Maharashtra's Kalina Kurla road to the Air India hangar.
The service tax authorities had put the luxury A319 jet, which Mallya used to criss-cross the world to solicit business deals, under the hammer to recover their dues to the tune of Rs 800 crore accumulated on account of non-payment of service tax before his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines went belly up in October 2012.
In the first auction in March 106 as part of their attempt to recover money from the beleaguered businessman Mallya, who is facing extradition from London now, a lone bidder turned up and quoted a meagre Rs 1.09 crore, against the reserve price of Rs 152 crore. The department rejected the bid and then lowered the reserve price by 10 per cent.
The plane was attached by the service tax department in December 2013, claiming tax dues of over Rs 800 crore from Kingfisher Airlines. The service tax department was forced to sell the aircraft after the Mumbai airport operator MIAL moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the department citing heavy losses on account of the non-productive use of its space. The auction, in the past, had failed as the bids were much below the reserve price, which was cut to $12.5 million from $22.5 million initially.