Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant owner of Kingfisher and United Breweries has flown abroad. This comes when Supreme Court is midway through a plea for confounding his passport by banks to whom he owes in excess of Rs 7000 crore. This news should make each one of us sit back and take notice.
Infact since outraging has become a national habit, this is definitely something which should lead to a national outrage. No longer can Mallya continue to poke us in our face with such impunity. His going abroad unapprehended is a big slap on face of every law abiding Indians in multiple senses-
Helplessness of common man
It’s ours money that capitalise the banks whose loans Mallya has consciously defaulted upon even when he continues to live an extravagant lifestyle. It’s all fine to split hairs over wether Rs 250 crores of taxpayers’ money should be used to fund education of our best minds in JNU but its inexplicable why the tax nationalists go mute when amount (7000 crore) many degree greater than that is squandered on some self indulgent rich whose disdain for well-being of employees of his company is well known.
The government’s refusal to prevent him from going abroad is all the more disconcerting as it had no such hesitation in preventing human rights activist from going abroad on flimsy ground. Now that he has escaped from the country, like Lalit Modi he can continue to enjoy the luxuries of life while our countrymen will be made to bear the price of his misdeeds.
The whole episode raises a more fundamental aspect that while a democracy is supposed to be for the people, Indian democracy like many others has been subverted to serve the interest of those with the money power.
So here Mallya, with his ability to fund parties across spectrum, has been able to evade the law. In a nation where thousands of farmers commit suicide due to fear of outstanding debt, what can be worse than one of the biggest defaulters not just being treated with kids gloves but also conferred with a membership of the parliament where he is supposed to make laws for us?
Atleast when Modi came to power, there was hope that such impunity for the rich lawbreakers will be a thing of the past, but it’s disappointing to see that things seldom change.
The dependance of our political parties on the money of people like Mallya ensures that they remain an agent for them and then fool us with blitz and propaganda obtained through these crony businessmen. So for all his bravado, Modi could not find the guts to take on a Mallya who has allegedly frauded the public of its resources.
It is in instances like this that our politicians need to show their courage and not in jailing poor students on cooked up charges.
Makes a mockery of Make In India and Start Up India
Modi came to power promising that he will level the playing field for our enterprise, make it easy to do business, ensure the end of crony capitalist and end the blank cheques that these politically connected cronies enjoy.
Who can forget the memorable slogans “bahut hua ha brasthachar abki bar modi sarkar”. Even after coming to power Modi has spoken on the importance on Make in India, start up India and many such catchy slogans.
If today our growth is struggling, it is because our banking sector is in a deep quagmire of high NPA’s which has prevented them from providing adequate credit for our enterprises and also kept interest rates high as the money earned through higher interest is used to offset the loses incurred on bad loans given to politically connected cronies like Mallya.
For a vibrant start-up culture to emerge, it is important that even the most politically unconnected enterpreur is subjected to the same rules that the most powerful and connected abide by.
This is something both our present RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and CEA Subramanium have stressed upon. Mallya’s case was an important test for this government to walk the talk but its saddening that it has failed this test.
It is muti billion frauds like this that are truly anti national than any speech given in our campuses. Hopefully the Modi goverment will realise this before it’s too late.
Author has studied at IIT-Roorkee. Views expressed here are author’s own and jantakareporter.com doesn’t subscribe to them.