It is unfair to label one-time loan defaulter Vijay Mallya as thief, says Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on December 13 suggested that it is unfair to label a “one-time loan defaulter Vijay Mallyaji” as a “chor” (thief), adding that the businessman has a four-decade-long track record of timely debt servicing.

The minister made these remarks at a forum in Mumbai as part of the Times Network India Economic Conclave.

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

“For 40 years Mallya was regularly paying the interest on his loans. After entering the aviation sector, he started facing problems, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 long years, and if he defaults once, then suddenly everything is fraud? This kind of mindset is not correct” he said.

He further said, “If someone says that Nirav Modi was a thief, I will agree, he should be put behind bars, but whoever comes in distress and if we tag them as a fraudster then our economy will not progress.”

Gadkari even added that every business has risks and entails making mistakes. But if “the mistakes are bona fide”, and if the problems are due to global recession or some internal issues or industrial problems, the person should be helped.