(Indian High Commissioner to United Kingdom, Navtej Sarna walked out of a book launch, which was attended by Vijay Mallya. Mallya has been facing probe in India for failing to repay a loan of Rs 9,000 crore. Was the High Commissioner’s reaction justified or was it bit of an overreaction? Read below.)
Vijay Mallya (VM) is being persecuted beyond what he deserves. He is a defaulter of the banking system, but that’s not a criminal offence. We have much larger fish strutting around here unfazed. The money laundering or siphoning of funds is an allegation that’s yet to be proven.
Innocent until proven guilty is the law of our land, isn’t it? Why should he not attend an open event at London’s London School of Economics? It wasn’t ticketed/invitation only. As a member of the LSE alumni society, I know that anyone can walk in for non-ticketed events. Why, then, should VM be asked to follow a different set of rules? The Indian High Commissioner (IHC) walking out is his individual prerogative, though I feel it was overdone and unnecessary.
It’s not as if VM was sharing the stage. What if the IHC finds himself in the same restaurant or party in London as VM? Will he walk out from there too?
If indeed the IHC was/is so fussed, he oughtn’t have participated in a non-ticketed book launch. The IHC complied with protocol in not inviting VM for the post-launch party, as that’s within their remit.
However, since it pertained to a private citizen’s book launch celebration, I for one would not see anything wrong even if VM were to be invited there (not that he was). One query comes to mind for which I don’t have an answer; what if VM hadn’t resigned from his Rajya Sabha seat? Wouldn’t he still have been an MP, albeit one wanted by some agencies in India for questioning, repeat, only for questioning?
My own hunch, repeat, hunch is that VM was indeed specifically invited; not by the IHC of course, and no prizes for guessing who, though the gent concerned seems to be abdicating responsibility.
Last and most important – much ado about a non-issue! I must confess to a vested interest in defending VM; though I don’t know him personally. He is a Calcuttan and for the longest time, until very recently, I have heard people here (and all over India and even abroad) boast how well they knew/know him! Guess VM is learning the hard way that friends are only for the GOOD TIMES!