Fugitive Mallya is seen attending function with Indian High Commissioner in London

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Vijay Mallya may be out of bounds for Indian investigating agencies but he’s certainly no stranger to Indian authorities abroad.

The liquoron baron, who’s been declared an absconder by Indian agencies and a court in Mumbai, was seen at a function attended by India’s High Commissioner to London, Navtej Sarna.

Vijay Mallya

Both Sarna and Mallya were guests at the socialite Suhel Seth’s book launch function in the English capital.

The book – Mantras for Success: India’s Greatest CEOs Tell You How to Win – is authored by Seth with journalist Sunny Sen.

The launch event took place at the London School of Economics at The Strand and was followed by a panel discussion. The office of the Indian high commission, Bharat Bhawan, is situated barely few meters away from the LSE.

It’s not clear whether Seth, a known friend of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, embarrassed the high commissioner by inviting Mallya, a fugitive, to an event attended by Sarna. Or did the Indian envoy arrive there with full knowledge of Mallya’s presence?

Seth was quick to clarify that the book launch was an “open event” that was advertised on Twitter and for which “no specific invitations were sent.”

“About @TheVijayMallya at my book launch. It was an open @SAsiaLSE & advertised on Twitter. No specific invitations. Anyone could attend,” he tweeted.

He further tweeted to add that “upon realising that @TheVijayMallya was in the audience as any other person, @NavtejSarna left before the Q&A expressing displeasure.”

However, not everyone is buying this argument. Journalist Swati Chaturvedi, who originally broke the story, has now demanded the Ministry of External Affairs to recall Sarna immediately. 

Chaturvedi alleged that the night before the event, Seth was dining with Mallya at the latter’s posh house in London.

She said, ” Mallya hots up so Seth pretends he did not invite..guess night before at Mallya’s London pleasure palace he forgot to invite personally?”

Chaturvedi said that the book that Seth launched on Thursday was released two years ago posing questions on why the senior-most diplomat of India would agree to be part of re-release the book, launched two years ago.

Also, contrary to Seth’s claims that the event was open to all, it has now emerged that an invited was issued with RSVP.

Curiously, on the day of his event, where Sarna was to be the chief guest, Seth was seen going on overkill in his praise for the efficiency of the India’s High Commission in London and MEA Sushma Swaraj.

Here are his tweets:

There are also reports that it was a part of well designed plan by Seth to have Mallya and Sarna at the same public platform primarily to send a message to British authorities about the fugitive Indian billionaire enjoying the official patronage of the Indian government.

This development has left the BJP and the central government in the dock. PM Narendra Modi has been receiving flak from its rivals for allowing Mallya to flee India amidst allegations that he had defaulted on bank loans worth Rs 9,000 crores.

This episode will only give credence to what’s so far been only allegations.

Here are some Twitter reactions:

 

1 COMMENT

  1. If only Journalism had minimum standards, disasters like Swati Chautrvedi who spread half cooked stories could have been prevented to create unrest.
    Without evidence she wants to imply that the High Commissioner knew of Vijay Mallya’s presence at the book launch. It has been clarified that there were two separate events of the book launch and the reception hosted by the High Commissioner. The book launch guest list was prepared by the LSE and not the Indian Authorities and the organiser himself stated that the High Commissioner immediately left after spotting Vijay Mallya. In the reception by the High Commissioner, Mallya was neither invited nor did he attend.

    Don’t use your freedom of speech unless you know how to use it responsibly.

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