InDIa’s high commissioner navtej sarna, being an author himself, likes to support book launches. For example, he was present at the nehru Centre last week when Lady Mohini Kent noon released her debut novel, Black Taj.
But the next day, sarna walked out of a book launch at the London school of Economics when Vijay Mallya, India’s erstwhile “king of good times”, showed up.
This is because Mallya is persona non grata in official Indian circles he is wanted back in India to answer questions about bank loans worth millions of dollars. The author suhel seth, who was launching his book on 17 of India’s CEOs Mallya is not among them was not at all put out by the businessman’s arrival.
“We’ve got to cut some slack, yaar,” said suhel, “He’s my pal he’s on Twitter. He was there with his daughter, not on some social outing.”
Mallya was once lauded as the Richard Branson of India. now he is the country’s Philip Green. Mallya was not invited to the launch. The event, organised by Mukulika Bannerjee’s LsE south asia Centre, was open to all.
Personally, I think Mallya, whom I have met a few times and even attended his party in Cannes, should have joined the panel and explained why he is sitting tight in the UK and refusing to pay back the money he has borrowed from Indian banks.