New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday clarified that his statements on absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya were taken out of context.
Commenting on media reports of him saying “Vijay Mallya isn’t a defaulter”, Gadkari told ANI: “I had said that if Vijay Mallya has done any wrong and an investigation is underway on him, then the investigation is right and suitable.”
Commenting on vicissitudes of life, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways said, “I also said unka (Vijay Mallya) account 40 saal prime account tha aur 41st saal bigad gaya, toh business mein ups and downs hote hain. Both of statements have been taken out of context. (I also said that Mallya’s account was a prime account for 40 years and it got disturbed on the 41st year, so ups and downs are part of the business. Both the statements have been taken out of context.)”
As per reports, Gadkari on Thursday suggested that it is unfair to tag a “one-time loan defaulter Vijay Mallyaji” as a “chor (thief)”, adding that Mallya has a four-decade-long track record of timely debt servicing.
“For 40 years Mallya was regularly paying interest on loans. After entering the aviation sector, he started facing problems, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 years, and if he defaults once, then suddenly everything is fraud? This mindset is not correct, Gadkari had reportedly said at an event.
The Westminster Magistrates Court in London on December 10 ordered the extradition of Mallya to India, who is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Mallya left India in 2016, following which, the Indian government initiated extradition proceedings against him. The matter of Mallya’s extradition has now been referred to UK’s Secretary of State.