I am quite sick of hearing that Vijay Mallya is just a failed businessman and not a criminal. Yes, there are people who feel sorry for him. They think he who did the country a national service by starting an airline and creating jobs for thousands.
Personally, I am celebrating that he will be extradited back to India. He ran away like a common thief.
He took loans of crores from banks, no doubt after giving bribes. And he never really intended to pay them back. His lack of intention to pay is explained here in this Financial Times article and also here in this Financial Express article. And apparently, there is evidence that he misused the loans, that he bought personal assets with the borrowed money and you can read about that here. Clearly, he believed he was above the law.
Vijay Mallya is not a stupid man. He had seen the writing on the wall but he gambled with the banks’ money and did god know what else with it. What he didn’t do is pay his employees. Yet, continued to lead a lavish lifestyle.
This man, who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, was never known to be a nice person. Stories of his arrogance and disrespect for people spread far and wide. He used to make people wait for hours; he didn’t have much regard for anybody, much less his employees. There were stories about him calling his employees for meetings at midnight and then putting in an appearance with a girl or two on his arm. The wild parties were legend. Some said he interviewed the air hostesses himself.
The truth is that Vijay Mallya was never liked by anybody except his equally rich and arrogant friends.
Leading a lavish lifestyle or womanising does not a criminal make (unless of course, there are MeToo stories tucked away in Mallya’s repertoire) but defrauding and bribing certainly does. And not paying your employees when they are struggling to make ends meet, even when you have the money, shows an utter disregard for moral values.
Let’s hope that Mallya gets what he deserves – jail.
(Photograph is a free photo from Pixabay)