Supported Mallya for Rajya Sabha since he was son of soil: Deve Gowda

Bengaluru, March 12 (IANS) The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supported industrialist Vijay Mallya in becoming a Rajya Sabha lawmaker twice since he is from Karnataka, former prime minister and party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda said on Saturday.

“As Mallya is a son of the soil (Karnataka), it is not a sin to send him to the Rajya Sabha from the state. His father (Vittal Mallya) was close to the Congress. They did not come from a foreign country,” Gowda told reporters here.

Mallya was elected as an independent member of Rajya Sabha in 2010 for the second term with the support of JD-S and Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers in the state legislature. His first term was from 2002 to 2008.

“Though there are over 60 other major defaulters, only Mallya’s case is hogging headlines in the media. Why media is bothered about him? Is it because he is a Rajya Sabha member? Who is bothered about him otherwise,” Gowda retorted to queries about the tycoon facing trouble for being a willful defaulter.

Asserting that it was wrong to say Mallya had fled, Gowda said it was evident from his tweets that he did not flee from the country and was not an absconder.

“Why money is not being recovered from other big defaulters. As per the tweets he posted, he is willing to cooperate with the government and judiciary to resolve the loan repayments issue,” he noted.

Clarifying that Mallya had to repay the loans he owes to the banks, as it was people’s money, Gowda said it was up to the government to take action against Mallya.

“How can I support Mallya when the central government has already initiated action against him,” he quipped.

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