By Rishi Iyengar
May 3, 2016

Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, accused of absconding to the U.K. while owing over $1 billion to a group of Indian banks, resigned from his position as a member of the India’s Parliament on Monday.

According to the Indian Express, Mallya said in a letter to Vice President Hamid Ansari — who is also the chairman of the Parliament’s upper house — that he was stepping down to avoid his name being “further dragged in the mud.” He also expressed the view that he would not “get a fair trial or justice.”

Mallya’s resignation pre-empts his seemingly imminent expulsion from Parliament by an ethics committee, which said last week it planned to remove him on Tuesday. In a separate letter to the committee’s chairman, the 60-year-old billionaire called the allegations against him “false and baseless.”

In an interview last week with the Financial Times in London, Mallya said he has no plans to leave the U.K. — where he has been for two months in what he claims is “forced exile.”

One of India’s most high-profile business magnates, who primarily made his vast fortune from the country’s globally popular Kingfisher beer, Mallya — known as the “King of Good Times” for his lavish lifestyle — also owns a Formula 1 team and an Indian cricket franchise. He is accused by more than a dozen banks of owing them $1.4 billion in debts — which he told the FT is an “inflated amount” — over his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which went bust in 2012.

He left India in early March, days before the banks requested the country’s Supreme Court to block his departure. The government revoked his passport last week.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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