Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Saturday said he has learnt the hard way that wealth should not be displayed in India, and that it is better to be a multi-
billionaire politician in the country.
Vijay Mallya arrives in the paddock during final practice prior to qualifying for the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit in Noida. HT Photo/Virendra Singh Gosain
"I have learnt the hard way that in India wealth should not be displayed. (It is) Better to be a multi-billionaire politician dressed in Khadi," Mallya tweeted amid a long-continuing crisis at his UB Group's Kingfisher Airlines and his exit from the league of Indian billionaires.
On Friday, Mallya had posted on the social networking site that he was thankful to 'the Almighty' for losing his billionaire status, and hoped it would lead to "less jealousy, less frenzy and (less of) wrongful attacks" on him.
Often referred to as 'King of Good Times', Mallya has slipped out of the billionaire league in the Forbes rich list, as "bad times" in his aviation business have dragged down his networth to below the USD 1 billion mark.
According to the business magazine's latest list of 100 richest people in India that was published yesterday, Mallya is now ranked 73rd with a fortune of USD 800 million (about Rs. 4,285 crore) -- a sharp plunge from 49th place last year with a fortune of USD 1.1 billion.
Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, part of Mallya-led UB Group, is going through turbulent times for several months now and had to halt operations earlier this month.
"King of good times is having nothing but bad times lately. His (Mallya's) Kingfisher Airlines, weighed down by what is believed to be $ 2 billion in debt, had its licence suspended in mid-October..." Forbes had said.
Mallya is attending Formula One race at Greater Noida near the national capital, where a team part-owned by him, Sahara Force India, is participating.
The UB Group Chairman further tweeted that the qualifying prospects of Sahara Force India is secondary and the focus of even sports journalists was on Kingfisher only.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Formula One venue, Mallya said: "We are here to enjoy Formula One, so let's enjoy it. But I have always been available and whatever settlement has been reached (between the airline management and the employees) it's because of my participation".
The employees of the airline, who were on strike since September 29, agreed to resume work on the management's promise to clear three months dues before Diwali.
During the entire impasse, agitating employees had demanded his presence and even threatened to stage protest at the venue of Formula One race.
"If they wanted to say something to me they could have come to my house. What is the point of coming here? There is no question of any disturbance or protest," Mallya said.