In his first interview since beginning his 2019 Lok Sabha polls with three back to back rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke exclusively to Republic Media Network's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on a host of issues which will be a focal point in the upcoming elections.
PM Modi spoke extensively on the achievements of his BJP-led NDA government in the last five years, and during that course, highlighted how money was recovered from absconding economic fugitive Vijay Mallya, who ran away from the country after defrauding Indian banks to a tune of Rs 9000 crore.
He not only expressed satisfaction over the fact that the extradition process concerning the former Kingfisher boss is in its final stages but also felt that recovering an amount more than what Mallya defrauded was a big win for India.
"We brought in a law that enabled the Indian government to confiscate property of fugitives in any part of the world. You must've seen in the case of Vijay Mallya. He owed banks Rs 9000 crore but the government has confiscated his properties worth Rs 14,000 crore from across the world. Now, he is in trouble because we are taking double the amount," said the Prime Minister.
Mallya, who had taken hefty loans from a host of Indian banks during the UPA regime, fled from the country in 2016. But the BJP government came up with stringent laws, which meant that the Kingfisher boss was put in the 'economic offender' category, meaning that the Indian agencies could confiscate his properties to recover the loan amount, apart from continuing in their efforts to bring him back to India.
Earlier this year in February, UK Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, signed the order for the extradition of Mallya to India, which came just a couple of months after Westminster Magistrates' court passed order for the same after finding prima facie case against Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
Such stringent action by the agencies forced the liquor baron to almost plead before the Indian government to accept his request to return the money, and not term him as an economic offender.
He recently went on a Twitter tirade against the ruling government, alleging he has been subjected to unfair treatment.