Let’s get one thing straight. Vijay Mallya isn’t winging into Mumbai or Delhi in the near future. Like Tracy Chapman sang: The police come late if they come at all, Mallya can make all those pleasant conciliatory sounds about wanting to respect the Indian judiciary but come on, it’s a Catch 22. If he applies for his passport to the Indian Embassy at London in person he is on Indian territory and can be apprehended. Much as an embassy or High Commission can give refuge it can also detain and hold. So don’t hold your breath and expect Mallya to fall into that obvious trap.
As for respecting the judiciary, it makes a good sound bite but does not add up to a whistle in the wind.
The Indian diplomat who suggested Mallya trot down to the embassy and ask for an Emergency Certificate was obviously kidding. Can you see the liquor baron actually doing that? Not this week-end anyway with all the Premier league matches going on and Mallya probably holding awesome seat tickets.
"Any Indian citizen who is outside India and who does not have a valid travel document for any reason, only has to approach the nearest Indian embassy or high commission and apply for an emergency certificate," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing.
"Emergency Certificate is specifically meant to provide a travel document to an Indian citizen to return to India. This facility is available to Mallya should he wish to apply for it."
Take away the fun of these back and forth between governments and individuals and you realise neither is serious. If the government was serious they would not have let Mallya catch a Jet Airways flight as a commercial passenger. He could have been held on a dozen charges at departure even if they were cooked up. Indian labour faces such rejection in the dozens every day at every airport besides facing what can only be called an inquisition. So let’s not kid ourselves.
Like with Lalit Modi and Win Chadha before him, the government lets you go then sets the chase to music.
They never even tried to get Win back. Except for one foray by a VP Singh emissary(allegedly) that all would be forgiven if Chadha would please involve Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors scandal which compelled Win to call security to throw the man out.
As for Modi, that is laughable. That is laughable in extremis. The pitch is dead, a million wickets have fallen but Modi bats on regardless.
How did this new chapter start in the Mallya innings? Mallya in an e-mail to his lawyer has expressed his willingness to return to India and respect the country’s judicial system. Probably this letter was also drafted by his lawyer.
Dispatched only an hour before the hearing on 9 September, Mallya sent the e-mail to his defence counsel Ajay Bhargava asking him to file a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance before a Mumbai court hearing a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules on his behalf.
"I request you to kindly appear before the learned judge on the said date on my behalf and file an exemption application requesting the judge to kindly dispense with my personal presence on the said date of hearing (September 9)," Mallya wrote in the mail.
"I request you (defence counsel) to also kindly convey to the learned judge that I have the utmost respect for his authority and towards the judicial systems of the country, in general," Mallya wrote.
But it's no big deal. All he is doing is keeping his nose clean on legal points of reference. None of which means he is coming home.