Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has defended fugitive Vijay Mallya and said that “its unfair to call Vijay Mallya a chor as he is a one time defaulter.”
Gadkari has said that the businessman has embattled for last 40 years and repaid the loans but this time around, if one of his cheque or payment went into a default then he can’t be termed as a “chor”
Gadkari was speaking at the Times Network’s India Economic Conclave in Mumbai and said, “40 saal Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha. 40 saal baad jab wo aviation mein gaya....uske baad wo adchan mein aaya to woh ekdum chor ho gaya?...jo pachaas saal byaaj bharta hai wo theek hai, par ek baar wo default ho gaya...toh turant sab fraud ho gaya? Ye mansikta theek nahi hai.”
Vijay Mallya is accused of siphoning off loans from a consortium of Indian banks to an extent of Rs 9,000 crore after his Kingfisher Airlines went bankrupt and he fled the country to London.
The minister further added that “There are risks in the business, be it banking or insurance, there are ups and downs. But, if the mistakes are bona fide, because of global or internal factors in the economy like a recession, then that person who is facing difficulties must be given support.”
When asked about Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya’s jail term if they have committed economic offences, Gadkari said, “If Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallyaji has committed (financial) fraud then send them to jail, but whoever comes in distress, and if we label them as fraudster then our economy will not progress,” as reported by NDTV.