One of India’s richest man, Vijay Mallya whose ‘bankrupt’ Kingfisher Airlines doesn’t have the money to pay its pilots and crew members, has donated gold worth Dh610,500 ($166,212) on his 57th birthday today.
According to news reports in the Indian media, the Chairman of the United Breweries Group today donated 3kg gold at the Tirupati temple.
The Deputy Executive Officer of the temple, C Ramana, has been quoted by local media saying that Mallya personally handed over the gold to the temple and that a receipt was issued to him (we’re not sure if the receipt will be used for tax purposes).
Mallya, India’s answer to the UK’s Sir Richard Branson, is known for his lavish lifestyle and his now-failed Kingfisher airlines, once the apple of Indian aviation’s eye.
Mallya had reportedly agreed to a $2.1 billion deal last month to sell a majority stake in his United Spirits to Diageo, but unconfirmed talks about Abu Dhabi-based Etihad eyeing a stake in his failed airline are still said to be ongoing.
A labour unrest in October led to Kingfisher announcing a lockout – a large number of its staff including pilots, crew members and ground staff are agitating against unpaid salaries for months.
In August this year, Mallya had reportedly donated another 2.5kg of gold-plated door worth Dh533,333 to the Lord Subrahmanya temple in Kukke, Dakshina Kannada district, to seek further prosperity, it seems.
“Mallya had prayed for prosperity and sought divine intervention to overcome the challenges in his business. He had also taken a vow to donate the gold plated door and accordingly fulfilled the vow,” temple authorities had said in August.
In donating the gold this time round when there are millions of dollars of outstanding against his grounded airline, Mallya is perhaps looking for divine amnesty.