New Delhi: A war of tweets has broken out between Vijay Mallya and the Sunday Guardian over a controversial interview published in the newspaper over the weekend.
Mallya, mired in a controversy for leaving India in the middle of a massive loan default probe, on Monday distanced himself from the interview in which he was quoted as having said time was not "right" for him to return to the country.
"Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification. I have not given any statement to anyone," Mallya tweeted on Monday night from his official Twitter page. He did not elaborate further on the contents of the said interview then.
Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification.I have not given any statement to anyone.
However, a journalist with the Sunday Guardian shot back saying it stands by the interview and published the mail trail that ended in the interview.
It seems Mr.Mallya's lawyer & a political friend had an epiphany after which Mallya denied d interview more than 45 hrs after it went online — Abhinandan Mishra (@mishra_abhi) March 14, 2016
The Sunday Guardian stands by its interview of Vijay Mallya | Sunday Guardian https://t.co/VpmroDlexF
— Joyeeta Basu (@eeta) March 14, 2016
The Sunday Guardian stands by its report on Vijay Mallya's interview taken by our reporter. Statement, email trail on website shortly.
— Joyeeta Basu (@eeta) March 14, 2016
However, a while later Mallya tweeted again wondering what the protonmail is all about.
Shocked to see Sunday Guardian's claim that I exchanged mails with them from my protonmail account. Have never heard of protonmail before. — Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 14, 2016
Never ever had nor do I have a protonmail e-mail account. As I said earlier I have never ever heard of protonmail.
— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 14, 2016
Sunday Guardian's claim that I wrote to them from my so called protonmail account to the reporters protonmail account is a total fake. — Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 14, 2016
The interview has come at a time when Mallya is under fire after he left the country on 2 March as banks and investigative agencies tighten their grip over the liquor baron. Mallya's had taken loans of about Rs 7,000 crore for the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines. The dues along with the interest is estimated to be at about Rs 9000 crore.
Mallya escape from the country that coincided with the banks moving the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Banlgaore has triggered a political row with Congress and BJP trading charges.
The Enforcement Directorate(ED) has summoned the liquor baron to appear before it in Mumbai on March 18 as part of its money laundering probe in the alleged default in payment of Rs 9,000 crore dues to IDBI bank by Kingfisher Airlines. While it has been widely reported that he had left for London, Mallya himself has been silent about his whereabouts but has been tweeting occasionally including to say he was not an "absconder" and he would comply with the "law of the land".
On Sunday, 'The Sunday Guardian' quoted him as having said in an e-mail interview, "I am an Indian to the core. Of course I want to return. But I am not sure I'll get a fair chance to present my side. I've already been branded as criminal. I do not feel the time is right."
Mallya, however, did not respond to repeated emailed queries from PTI as also to the messages sent to his phone.
No immediate comments could be obtained from the weekly newspaper and the phone calls made to its office did not elicit any response regarding the interview.
On Sunday, Mallya had tweeted, "I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don't waste your efforts."