Mallya must return and deposit his passport: AG

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New Delhi, March 14: While maintaining that the Supreme Court has not ordered beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya to return to India, Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said he must come back and submit his passport.

“As far as SC notice is concerned, the SC has not currently ordered him to appear in person. When the court issues notice in a civil matter, the usual presumption is that a party can appear in person or through a lawyer. It is upto Mallya whether he personally comes or doesn’t come. But currently there is no mandate that he should come himself. Probably a lawyer can appear,” he said.

He also claimed that the next step that they would take would depend on the response of Mallya’s lawyer. “If the response is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, I cannot say. But then our plea is that he should come and deposit his passport. That plea remains. We will renew our plea on the next date of hearing,” Rohatgi said.

His statement comes a day after Mallya said in an interview that he was not on the run but was also in no hurry to return to India.

Asked whether his departure from India on March 2 was related to his failure to pay back loans, he said he left on a personal visit along with a friend. “It wasn’t a business visit. Lots of people have written that I was carrying seven luggage bags. For two people, I don’t think that’s too much. I pack heavy. That’s how I travel.” He said it was wrong to say he “escaped”.

“Why am I being portrayed as a criminal? Loan defaults are a business matter. When the banks give out loans, they know the risk involved. They decide, we don’t. Our own business was flourishing, but plummeted suddenly. Don’t make me the villain. I have the best intentions. I’m quiet because I fear my words will be twisted like of others.”

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