In a rather bizarre turn of events, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda has called Vijay Mallya a “son of the soil”, but maintained that he would have to repay the debt to the banks.
In a roundabout manner, Gowda both defended Mallya and also said that the businessman should face the consequences of his actions.
"As per the tweets which he posted, he is willing to cooperate with various wings of the government and judiciary to solve the problem. He (Mallya) is a son of the soil, he is not running away from the country,” Gowda told PTI in Bengaluru.
However, while Mallya is an Indian citizen, he has lived in London for the last 28 years. Currently, he is said to be living in a plush house on a 30-acre estate in a village near London.
Gowda also echoed Mallya’s own words, when he said, "There are 60 other major people who have defaulted and only Mallya's case is hogging headlines in the media. Why? The media is bothered about Mallya because he is a Rajya Sabha member. Otherwise who is bothered about him and his case," Gowda told PTI in Bengaluru.
The JDS's backing had helped Mallya become a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka for two terms in 2002 and 2010.
On the submissions by Mallya's counsel in the Debt Recovery Tribunal that the business tycoon was a small fry compared to other bigger defaulters, Gowda said, "Whether he is a small fry or not, he has to repay the debt to the banks. After all, it is people's money."
Questioned whether he was, in a way, supporting Mallya, Gowda said, "Why should I support and how can I support when the central government has already taken steps to take action against Mallya?"