Industrialist and liquor baron Vijay Mallya, mired in a controversy for leaving India in the middle of a massive loan default probe, on Monday appeared to distance himself from an interview that quoted him as having said that time was not “right” to return to the country.
“Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification. I have not given any statement to anyone,” Mallya tweeted on Monday night on his official Twitter page. He did not elaborate further on the contents of the said interview.
Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification.I have not given any statement to anyone.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 14, 2016
Refuting Mallya’s denial, a journalist with the weekly, however, said that it stands by the interview.
Under fire over dues totalling over Rs 9,000 crore of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines in unpaid loans and interest, Mallya left the country on March 2, triggering a political row with Congress and BJP trading charges.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned the liquor baron to appear before it in Mumbai on March 18 as part of its money laundering probe in the alleged default in payment of Rs 900 crore dues to IDBI bank by Kingfisher Airlines.
While it has been widely reported that he had left for London, Mallya himself has been silent about his whereabouts but has been tweeting occasionally including to say he was not an “absconder” and he would comply with the “law of the land”.
On Sunday, the ‘The Sunday Guardian’ quoted him as having said in an e-mail interview , “I am an Indian to the core. Of course I want to return. But I am not sure I’ll get a fair chance to present my side. I’ve already been branded as criminal. I do not feel the time is right.”
Mallya, however, did not respond to repeated emailed queries from PTI as also to the messages sent to his phone.
PTI also said no immediate comments could be obtained from the weekly newspaper and the phone calls made to its office did not elicit any response regarding the interview.
Mallya had tweeted on Sunday, “I am being hunted down by media in UK . Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don’t waste your efforts.”
I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don't waste your efforts.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 13, 2016
However, late on Monday evening, Abhinandan Mishra, a journalist with the Sunday Guardian, tweeted that the weekly stood by its interview with Mallya and it will put up the email trail that ended in the interview.
We stand by the Vijay Mallya interview in the @SundayGuardian and we will be putting up the email trail that culminated in his interview.— Abhinandan Mishra (@mishra_abhi) March 14, 2016
It seems Mr.Mallya's lawyer & a political friend had an epiphany after which Mallya denied d interview more than 45 hrs after it went online— Abhinandan Mishra (@mishra_abhi) March 14, 2016