Missing India? There’s nothing to miss, says Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant businessman, currently fighting a high-profile Indian extradition request, speaks instead of 'enjoying the fruits' of his labours on track and planning high-flying Force India's next decade. "There’s nothing to miss," he said at the British Grand Prix when asked if he missed India.

By: Reuters | Silverstone | Published:July 14, 2017 10:35 am
Vijay mallya, Kingfisher airlines, Liquor baron, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Vijay Mallya extradition, Mallya's travel restrictions, British Grand Prix, Vijay Mallya is also, despite the court appearances and travel restrictions, still living the good life and enjoying a summer of sport. (File photo)

Missing India, and pining for a pit lane he can visit only once a year? Not a bit of it, says embattled Formula One team owner Vijay Mallya. The flamboyant businessman, currently fighting a high-profile Indian extradition request, speaks instead of ‘enjoying the fruits’ of his labours on track and planning high-flying Force India’s next decade.

He is also, despite the court appearances and travel restrictions, still living the good life and enjoying a summer of sport.

Horse racing at Royal Ascot, the Wimbledon tennis championships and Champions Trophy cricket have all been on his social diary, along with Wednesday’s Formula One promotional event in London.

“There’s nothing to miss,” the 61-year-old told Reuters at the British Grand Prix when asked if he missed India.

He also said, “All my immediate family is either in England or the US. Nobody in India at all. As far as my step-siblings are concerned, they are all UK citizens. So there’s nothing family-wise to miss.”

India is seeking Mallya’s extradition over $1.4 billion that the authorities say he owes as a result of loans tied to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya has dismissed the charges against him.

“This witch hunt against me has been going on for a while,” said Mallya, who has lived in Britain since 1992 and considers it a second home. So it isn’t as if I have any emotional ups and downs. I have done absolutely nothing wrong. In fact I am glad that it is finally before a UK court and an impartial court. So we wait and see how it plays out”, he said.

The full extradition hearing has been provisionally listed to start on December 4 and to last two weeks.

Until the issue is resolved, Mallya cannot leave Britain but he said that was no hardship, even if Silverstone is likely to be his first and last appearance in the Formula One paddock this year.

Novelty value

“I enjoy this atmosphere … I enjoy meeting all the guests and sponsors and walking around the paddock. But while I enjoy it, there’s no novelty value any more,” he said. “I’ve been there and done it.

“When I first started I went to every single race to the point where it was getting a bit exhausting, going to 20 races in a year. So it’s not as if I’m missing something. If you look at my role in the team, there’s nothing for me to miss. I am participating in all the decision making and I’ve got a virtual pit wall at home. I miss being around but I’m also happy in my space. My time will come and I’ll go back to the tracks.”

Mallya took over the failing Jordan team a decade ago and renamed it Force India as a measure of his pride in setting up India’s first Formula One entry.

The talk now is of taking India out of the name to attract the sort of big name sponsors who want a global reach rather than a regional focus.

“Things have changed. Force India is getting very limited in terms of potential. The Indian Grand Prix is gone, sadly. There are no Indian sponsors who’ve come to the table. They seem to be spending all their money on cricket,” said Mallya.

“And I need, for the continuing financial stability of this team, to reach out to more international sponsors. We have to think about positioning the team for the next 10 years,” he said, adding that he intended to be around as well.

Force India are currently fourth overall in the constructors’ standings, the position they finished in last year.

“When the team is doing well, then I am able to enjoy the fruits of my labour over so many years,” said Mallya.

He said, “Getting the right people and culture in place and motivating them and developing a car that has fought in the world championship — that’s no coincidence or stroke of luck. This is proper performance. This is the time I’m enjoying the fruits of my 10 years of ownership.”

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  1. P
    Paddy Singh
    Jul 14, 2017 at 3:04 pm
    With the CBI unable to put an authentic and honest case before the law school dropouts who will decide the extradition of this Thug and illegitimate arrogant man, there are also political considerations to consider. No bank could ever have loaned the figure quoted without political interference. Try asking the bank for a 5 lakh loan and see what happens. This crook had bought politicians across the spectrum with the loans he received and social importance is very dear to many politicians. I sincerely hope the CBI gets this thief back, but either it will take a long time doing so where he may deservedly leave this world for 99 virgins, or he will never be brought back to face justice.
    1. V
      Jul 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm
      He is there is nothing to miss in India, after having made all his money in this country. Must say, a very patriotic person.
      1. V
        Jul 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm
        He says.... V.K.Das
      2. R
        Ram Babu
        Jul 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm
        Mallya should have never been borne in India. He was a source of trouble for his father as a child, problem for business fraternity as an adult , trouble for all good looking damsels as a money-bag and scoundrel for banking system in India. He better drawn in Thames no one will be sorry !
        1. V
          v b
          Jul 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm
          Mr. Vijay Mallya does not and cannot distinguish between shareholders' funds and Bank Depositors' funds the former gets share of profits as well as losses whereas the latter is en led only to the contracted debt amount, irrespective of whether the business yields profits or losses.
          1. M
            Munzir Baig
            Jul 14, 2017 at 11:57 am
            Where is Mr. Tolerance sri sri sri Anupam Kher. He had a issue when Kiran Rao made a statement.
            1. N
              Jul 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm
              Perturbed???? Lol!!!!
              1. N
                Nesfield Sangma
                Jul 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm
                Why talk of people nicknamed Mr Dung. Now he must be wallowing in the black droppings of an animal his party gloats over.
              2. P
                p g
                Jul 14, 2017 at 11:44 am
                Kamal Pasha, you are welcome to leave India, but we recommend you to go to Pakistan, your motherland and not the U S. As for Mr Mallya, his Derby Day will come soon.
                1. K
                  Kamal Pasha
                  Jul 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm
                  PG : I left India very long time ago. Couldn't stand the foul weather and smell.
                  1. A
                    A. M.
                    Jul 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm
                    Why don't you call all the NRI bhakts back to India if they love India so much, instead of giving free advice to Kamal about going to Pakistan .
                    1. A
                      Jul 14, 2017 at 5:04 pm
                      Kamal pasha is already in pakistan enjoying pakistans foul weather and smell along with other katve
                  2. B
                    Jul 14, 2017 at 11:44 am
                    Such persons like Vijay Mallya are like "THUGS". Real "GADDAR" of India. Such guys earn their money in India and when it comes to paying, they run out of the country. Earning is legal, but when it comes to paying back, they beg the government for a "bail-out". This they call hard-work. This person should be brought back to India and should be put in a high-security jail. All his assets in India should be confiscated.
                    1. V
                      vivek Rana
                      Jul 14, 2017 at 11:34 am
                      Kya miss karega , sab to loot ke le gaya, jab khatam ho jayega tab yaad aayegi.
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