Mallya was not an ‘invitee’ at London book launch event: MEA

New Delhi : The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday issued a clarification after reports emerged that Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court in a money laundering case, was spotted at a book launch event at London School of Economics this week that was attended by Indian envoy Navtej Sarna and said that the Indian business tycoon was not an invitee at the event open to all.

Issuing a statement, the MEA clarified that Mallya was not an invitee at the event in London attended by the Indian High Commissioner.

“With regards to the story on Vijay Mallya at an event in London on June 16, please note that there were two clear segments – the book launch by UK Minister Jo Johnson and discussion at LSE and later a reception at the High Commission for select guests,” the statement read.

“Mallya was certainly not an invitee to the reception at the High Commission for which the invitations were issued by the High Commission, and was not present,” it added.

The government said that the London School of Economics has written to the High Commissioner, saying it had not invited Mallya to the event that was “advertised widely through social media and attendees were not required to register in advance.”

The event was held on June 16 by the 100-ft Journey Club of the South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics to release “Mantras for Success: India’s Greatest CEOs Tell You How to Win”, a book by author Suhel Seth and journalist Sunny Sen.

Seth claimed that Mallya was not an invited guest at the event, which was open to all.

“About @TheVijayMallya at my book launch. It was an open @SAsiaLSE & advertised on Twitter. No specific invitations. Anyone could attend,” he tweeted.

“Upon realising that @TheVijayMallya was in the audience as any other person, @NavtejSarna left before the Q&A expressing displeasure,” he added.

Mallya, the owner of United Spirits, United Breweries and Kingfisher Airlines, has been living in London since March after failing to repay a Rs. 900 crore debt to the IDBI bank that he had taken in 2009 to shore up the Kingfisher Airline. (ANI)