Vijay Mallya: Not on the run, but will not return
Vijay Mallya claims he is in no hurry to return to India, as he feels he won’t get a fair chance to present his side
New Delhi: In an interview published in a daily yesterday, tainted liquor baron Vijay Mallya said he was not on the run but was also in no hurry to return to India. Mallya said he had done no wrong and that he was being victimised.
See you soon, hopefully: Mallya stated that passions are high and people need to think rationally. File Pic
Asked whether his departure from India on March 2 was related to his failure to pay back loans, he said he left on a personal visit along with a friend. “It wasn’t a business visit. Lots of people have written that I was carrying seven luggage bags... For two people, I don’t think that’s too much. I pack heavy. That’s how I travel.”
He said it was wrong to say he ‘escaped’.
“Why am I being portrayed as a criminal? Loan defaults are a business matter. When the banks give out loans, they know the risk involved. They decide, we don’t. Our own business was flourishing, but plummeted suddenly. Don’t make me the villain. I have the best intentions. I’m quiet because I fear my words will be twisted like of others.”
Mallya said it was ‘a matter of interpretation’ why he left India just before the banks who had given him loans moved court.
“It’s not the first time I’ve flown out from the country. I’ve not done anything wrong. I don’t need anyone to tip me off about anything.”
The Rajya Sabha member said he did want to return to India. “But I’m not sure I’ll get a fair chance to present my side. I’ve already been branded a criminal. I do not feel the time is right. I feel passions are high. People need to think rationally. They need to understand that business, whether large or small, has risks involved. I’ve seen the highest to the lowest points in this matter. But I hope that I return one day. India has given me everything. It made me Vijay Mallya.”
‘Media hunting me’
A beleaguered Mallya yesterday tweeted that he was being ‘hunted down by media in UK’ but they did not look in the ‘obvious place’. A miffed Mallya tweeted, “I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don’t waste your efforts.” He also retweeted his son Siddharth’s post, who had said, “People don’t understand that I have nothing to do with it!” in reply to a message whether he was fed up with the Twitter backlash.
Adding to the growing trouble for Vijay Mallya, a Hyderabad court yesterday has issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him after he failed to appear before it in a cheque dishonour case amid reports that quoted him as having said the time is not ‘right’ for his return to India. The court order in the case of alleged dishonour of a R50-lakh cheque to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd came even as Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said a probe will be launched to check whether there were any anomalies in the Provident Fund (PF) contributions made by Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines for its employees when it was functioning.
'All wilful defaulters to be punished'
Amid a raging row over loan defaults by Mallya, the Centre yesterday said ‘full force of the law’ is being applied to bring all wilful loan defaulters to justice. MoS (Finance) Jayant Sinha said wilful defaulters and the corporates that are unable to repay loans as their business being hit due to global slowdown should not be commingled. “We have some people that are wilful defaulters, that have genuinely engaged in illegal activity. As far as those are concerned, the full force of the law is being applied. All the investigative agencies are working in that regard to ensure that they have to be brought to justice,” he told reporters here.