New Delhi: In a bid to build more pressure on the NDA government, the Congress party is set to raise in Parliament the issue of business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who has refused to return to India, saying that he is not an absconder but a businessman of international stature.
Congress MPs led by Sonia Gandhi will also hold a strategy meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Parliament at 10:15 am today on the Vijay Mallya issue.
The move comes a day after Mallya, accused of the financial bungling of thousands of crores, said that he was not on the run but was also in no hurry 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.
Asked whether his departure from India on March 2 was related to his failure to pay back loans, he said 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. I pack heavy. That’s how I travel."
He said it was wrong to say he “escaped”.
"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. I’m quiet because I fear my words will be twisted like of others."
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. I don’t need anyone to tip me off about anything."
The Rajya Sabha member said he did want to return to India.
"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.
"I feel passions are high. People need to think rationally. They need to understand that business, whether large or small, has risks involved.
"I've seen the highest to the lowest points in this matter. But I hope that I return one day. India has given me everything. It made me Vijay Mallya."
Accusing the media of spreading "lies" about him, he said: "It’s a big agenda that some people are pushing against me. I am being victimised. And if people are doubting the integrity of bank employees, then why point the finger at me?
"I’ve never hidden any aspect of my life. I’m one of the most open people. I’m forced to go into hiding, and that makes me sick."
Mallya was 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."