Mumbai, Oct. 9: Liquor barons Vijay Mallya and Kishore Chhabria today buried the hatchet, withdrawing a raft of court cases that the two have filed against each other over the past two decades.
Sources said Chhabria had paid Rs 8 crore to settle the long-running dispute over the ownership of Chhabria’s Officer’s Choice brand of whisky.
“Kishore Chhabria-controlled Allied Blenders and Distillers Private Ltd and Vijay Mallya-controlled United Spirits Ltd reached an agreement to settle out of court all pending litigations… it brings to an end 20-year old dispute between KRC Group of Companies and erstwhile Shaw Wallace Group of Companies, which is now part of Vijay Mallya-controlled United Spirits Ltd,” said a statement issued by Allied Blenders and Distillers (ABD).
The consent terms, signed by the two firms, were filed in Calcutta High Court this afternoon. Chhabria said with the litigations out of the way, he would now be able to focus on developing ABD to its full potential.
Many see the settlement as a precursor to a deal between Mallya’s United Spirits and Diageo, the world’s largest spirits maker, which has been brewing for months.
Cash-strapped Mallya, who is struggling to refloat his debt-laden Kingfisher Airline, has been forced into a situation where he must sell a substantial stake in UB Spirits.
The UB Spirits stake sale has become imperative to free Mallya from the onerous obligations that he had assumed while negotiating loans for his airline when he was hoping to create the biggest carrier in the country.