New Delhi: The Sunday Guardian, a media outlet that published an interview claiming it to be of former Kingfisher Director Vijay Mallya, has now revealed a mail trail to clear its stand after the embattled liquor baron denied speaking to the press at all.
The mail trail published by the journal now reveals a string of conversations between a journalist with The Sunday Guardian and a man believed to be Mallya. According to the journal, it first wrote to Mallya with questions to an encrypted email ID posing questions on his whereabouts and the reason behind his sudden departure. The mail was responded to purportedly by Mallya who warned against the twisting of his comments to suit any of the journal’s narratives.
In the alleged email interview, Mallya said that it was not the right time to return to India. "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," the newspaper quoted Mallya’s statement in supposed email.
Earlier, businessman Mallya, mired in a controversy for leaving India in the middle of a massive loan default probe, yesterday 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 his official Twitter page. He did not elaborate further on the contents of the said 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”.
Mallya had tweeted, “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.”
Later, a journalist from the Sunday Guardian newspaper tweeted, “We stand by the Vijay Mallya interview in the @SundayGuardian and we will be putting up the email trail that culminated in his interview.”
(With inputs from PTI)