New Delhi: Indian cricketers touring England have been trying to avoid absconding business baron Vijay Mallya to the extent that they left skipper Virat Kohli’s charity dinner early because he was present, a BCCI official told Cricketnext on condition of anonymity.
"A person cannot be stopped from watching a match in a stadium... But the Indian players are not comfortable around him and that was evident during the Virat Kohli Charity Ball as they left early despite the event being organised by Kohli,” the official said.
The BCCI official clarified there were no specific instructions to stay away from Mallya, who faces an extradition request by India, and that the directive was only to stay away from off-field controversies.
“The players were very uncomfortable. It was an unavoidable situation as one couldn't have possibly asked Mallya to leave from a charity event where someone who booked a table might have invited him as a guest," the official further said.
The liquor baron’s presence in the June 6 event and at matches played by India had raised a few eyebrows. Mallya was on Sunday booed by a section of Indian supporters as he entered the Oval arena to watch India’s encounter with South Africa with some supporters shouting “Chor, Chor (Thief, Thief).”
Mallya, who fled India last March after owing more than Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of banks, has raised eyebrows with his appearances at India matches in the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy in England.
He will face an extradition hearing in a London court on Tuesday with the Crown Prosecution Service arguing for India.
In April, Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on fraud allegations, triggering an official extradition process in the British courts. He attended a central London police station for his arrest and was released on conditional bail a few hours later after providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds, assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.