Vijay Mallya, declared a proclaimed offender in a money laundering case, on Sunday said he was not a “gate crasher”, suggesting that he was invited to the book launch event here which was also attended by the Indian High Commissioner.
Indian High Commissioner Navtej Sarna’s presence at the event on Thursday where Mallya was spotted sparked a row following which External Affairs Ministry on Saturday issued a clarification that Mallya was not on the list of invitees of the event organiser.
“Never gatecrashed in my life… I am not a gatecrasher and would never be one,” Mallya tweeted, responding to the claims that he was not among the invitees.
— Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) June 18, 2016
The MEA had said the High Commissioner left the stage and venue immediately after making his comments when he spotted Mallya in the audience. The event was organised by the London School of Economics.
The disgraced business tycoon, who had walked in soon after the event started, tweeted, “I went for my friend – the author. Sat quietly with my daughter and listened. Headline news and unfounded speculation followed.”
“No evidence, No charge sheet. Before claiming all this should I not be given a chance to pursue my legal remedies? Most unfair,” he said.
Social media was in a frenzy after it emerged that Sarna, who was one of the special guests at the event to mark the launch of socialite Suhel Seth’s new book, attended the function with Mallya in the audience.
After the uproar over the issue, the MEA had said there were two clear segments to the June 16 event in question the book launch by UK Minister Jo Johnson and discussion at LSE and later a reception at the High Commission for select guests.
“The list of invitations for the LSE event was determined by LSE. They have written to the High Commissioner that Mallya was not on their list. They have also said that the event was advertised widely through social media and attendees were not required to register in advance.
“Mallya was certainly not an invitee to the reception at the High Commission for which the invitations were issued by the High Commission, and was not present,” the MEA statement said.
With Inputs From PTI