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Mallyaji a One-time Loan Defaulter, Unfair to Label Him a 'Chor': Nitin Gadkari

Empathising with the businessman, Gadkari said that ups and downs are part and parcel of any business, and said if someone goes through a downward cycle, then he or she has to be supported.

News18.com

Updated:December 14, 2018, 12:06 PM IST
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New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari does not think it is fair to call “one-time loan defaulter Vijay “Mallyaji” a “chor (thief)”. Reasoning out his declaration, Gadkari underlined the embattled businessman’s four-decade-long track record of timely debt servicing.

The minister clarified that he has no business dealing with Mallya, who faces extradition from the UK for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.

"40 saal Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha. 40 saal baad jab wo aviation mein gaya....uske baad wo adchan mein aaya to woh ekdum chor ho gaya?...jo pachaas saal byaaj bharta hai wo theek hai, par ek baar wo default ho gaya...toh turant sab fraud ho gaya? Ye mansikta theek nahi hai

(For 40 years Mallya was regularly paying interest on loans. After entering the aviation sector he started facing problems, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 years, and if he defaults once, then suddenly everything is fraud? This mindset is not correct),” Gadkari said at an economic summit organised by the Times Group.

Empathising with the businessman, Gadkari said that ups and downs are part and parcel of any business, and said if someone goes through a downward cycle, then he or she must be supported.

"There are risks in the business, be it banking or insurance. There are ups and downs. But, if the mistakes are bona fide, because of global or internal factors in the economy like a recession, then that person who is facing difficulties must be given support," the minister said.

Not stopping there, the minister further cited his own electoral story to buttress the point.

Gadkari recalled how he lost an election when he was all of 26, but underscored that it did not mean that his political career was over.

"If Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallyaji has committed (financial) fraud then send them to jail, but whoever comes in distress, and if we label them as fraudster then our economy will not progress," he was quoted as saying at the event.

Earlier this week, a London court had ordered Mallya's extradition, in a major boost to the government's efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman.

Ahead of the extradition hearing, the 62-year-old former boss of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines offered to repay the entire principal amount to banks.

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