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Kingfisher Villa Piques Interest Of Hospitality Players

The auction of the villa, which was once used by the embattled Vijay Mallya to host lavish parties, will be conducted on October 19

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While auctions of several assets of defunct Kingfisher Airlines failed to attract even a single bidder, the plush sea-facing Kingfisher Villa Goa has invited interest from at least half-a-dozen players in the hospitality industry and a media group.

The 17-lender consortium led by State Bank of India, which took physical possession of the property in May this year after a long legal battle with United Spirits over tenancy rights, is auctioning it later this month.

The villa was owned by United Breweries Holdings, and mortgaged by the now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines to the consortium of banks to obtain loans in 2010.

Lenders had opened the villa for inspection to interested bidders in two slots -- September 26-27 and October 5-6.

In the four days during which the property was thrown open, around half-a-dozen entities are known to have visited the palatial villa.

"The response was good. Nearly 6 to 7 parties from the hospitality industry and a media organisation have visited the villa," a source told PTI.

The auction of the villa, which was once used by the embattled Vijay Mallya to host lavish parties, will be conducted on October 19.

Lenders have fixed a reserve price of Rs 85.29 crore for the beach-front mansion, with 12,350 sq mt area.

Banks as well as the service tax department had failed twice to attract bidders for the auctions of Kingfisher House in the city, Mallya's now-grounded luxe private jet (which is under the custody of the service tax department now) and the brand Kingfisher, due to higher reserve prices.

The grandeur of the villa finds mention in the autobiography of flamboyant West Indies batsman Chris Gayle.

Gayle, after joining Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which was earlier owned by Mallya but is now with Diageo, got an opportunity to stay in the villa where he had spent five days as "the king of the villa".

In his autobiography, 'Six Machine: I Don't Like Cricket. I Love It', Gayle describes Kingfisher Villa as bigger than most hotels and cooler than any house he had ever seen.

"It's James Bond, it's Playboy Mansion, it's the land of plenty in white concrete and glass. I'm trying not to stare, but there's so much to stare at that there's only room in my mind for one thought: 'Chris, this gonna be interesting..."

SBICap Trustees, which is auctioning the property on behalf of the lenders, said the e-auction will include only the immovable part of the villa and not its movable assets.

Mallya, the owner of the long defunct airline, owes over Rs 9,000 crore to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI Bank, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank and Axis Bank, among others.

He had left the country in March and is currently said to be in Britain, having defied several court orders to return to India.