Vijay Mallya, chairman of UB Group who left India on March 2, has said that he does not feel the time is right for him to return to India. Mallya told The Sunday Guardian in an email interview that he had done no wrong and that he was being victimised.
On being asked whether his departure from India was related to his failure to pay back loans, he is reported to have said that 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” He said it was wrong to say he “escaped”. The ED has summoned Mallya for personal appearance before a probe team on March 18. Besides, a Hyderabad court has also issued a non-bailable warrant for alleged bouncing of a cheque for Rs 50 lakh to GMR (Hyderabad) International Airport.
“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.”
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.”
While indicating that he did want to return to India, Mallya said: “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. But I hope that I return one day. India has given me everything.”
Accusing the media of “spreading lies” about him, Mallya said: “It’s a big agenda that some people are pushing against me. I am being victimised. I’m forced to go into hiding, and that makes me sick.” Mallya was also asked where he was living now. “I do not think it is wise for me to reveal my whereabouts. I’m no hardened criminal who the authorities need to hunt. For now, I want to feel safe.”
(With inputs from agencies)