Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday opined that it is unfair to tag a "one-time loan defaulter Vijay Mallyaji" as a "chor" (thief), adding that the embattled businessman has a four-decade-long track record of timely debt servicing.
Gadkari, however, clarified that he has no business dealing with Mallya, who faces extradition from the UK for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.
"40 saal Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha. 40 saal baad jab wo aviation mein gaya..uske baad wo adchan mein aaya to woh ekdum chor ho gaya?..jo pachaas saal byaaj bharta hai wo theek hai, par ek baar wo default ho gaya..toh turant sab fraud ho gaya? Ye mansikta theek nahi hai."
(For 40 years Mallya was regularly paying interest on loans. After entering the aviation sector, he started facing problems, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 years, and if he defaults once, then suddenly everything is fraud? This mindset is not correct), Gadkari said at an economic summit organised by the Times Group. PTI