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Pragmatism has its own rewards: Quick take

By IndianMandarins- 14 Dec 2018


India's ex-King of Good Time and publisher of sexy calendars Vijay Mallaya is like the proverbial camel who is humbled about his height only when it comes near the mountain. Hunted by Indian law and finding no support from British laws, he has offered to pay back 100% of the principal debt. While banks are yet to respond to his offer, senior Cabinet Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is known for his pragmatic viewpoints - the viewpoints that have made him the most successful minister in the NaMo administration, has argued for exonerating the ex-boss of the defunct Kingfisher Airline. We will revert to his reasoning later.


Interestingly, twice-born socialist Rahul Gandhi, who has been exorbitantly generous in targeting equally twice-born socialist Narendra Modi for his alleged hobnobbing with capitalists, has not yet responded to Gadkari's viewpoint on the Mallaya affair. Perhaps he had had a lot of good time with Mallaya and his high-spirited best companions in the world.


In fact, Gadkari at one shot has put two great socialists of the world Rahul and Narendra Modi on the dock even as they get ready to waive off farmers' debts running into Rs 3-4 lakh crores. Of course, these great socialist gamblers wouldn't be paying from their own pocket, and hence their generosity. The blood money to farmers would be paid for draining out their blood over the last four decades through a series of parasitic policies that have turned the net terms of trade absolutely negative for farmers.


But this below-contempt low cunning will open a Pandora's box of constitutional questions. First and foremost, the two great leaders will be charged with differentiating individuals on the basis of absolutely unsustainable democratic grounds. Since everyone is supposed to be equal before the law, it will be surely asked why the government is willing to waive off the entire loan and interest of farmers, while not willing to waive off the interest part of Mallaya's loan. Since Mallaya's default took place in the background of the exorbitantly high cost of aviation fuel, it may be argued that his default in payment was caused by an extremely difficult business environment like those faced by farmers, and therefore there was no malafide intent.


Minister Gadkari has argued on the same sustainable ground.


Speaking at the Times Network-organised India Economic Conclave in Mumbai, he said, “Mujhe Vijay Mallya se kuch lena-dena nahin hai… 40 saal jab Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha, tab Mallya ka prime account tha… aur 40 saal ke baad, aviation mein jaane ke baad… woh bhi mujhe malum hai history poori… uske baad woh adchan mein aaya toh woh ekdum chor ho gaya?… jo 50 saal byaaj bharta hai woh theek hai, par ek baar woh default ho gaya… toh thurant sab fraud ho gaya? Yeh mansikta theek nahin hai.”


“(I have nothing to do with Vijay Mallya… Mallya’s was a prime account for 40 years when he repaid loans regularly. He entered the aviation sector, and ran into problems. So does that make him a thief? He defaulted once, and he turned to be a fraud? This mindset is not right.)”


Gadkari’s remarks came after the UK court order was welcomed by the FM.


On December 10, following the Westminster court order, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted: “Great Day for India. No one who cheats India will go scot free… An offender benefited during the UPA. The NDA brings him to book.”


BJP president Amit Shah also took to Twitter and credited the Prime Minister for the extradition order. “Vijay Mallya’s extradition is a very significant development in India’s fight against corruption. The credit for this goes entirely to Prime Minister @narendramodi, who ensured that the agencies were unrelenting in their pursuit of the man who had bled Indian banks and fled,” Shah tweeted.


On Thursday, Gadkari was referring to a loan from the Maharashtra government-owned entity Sicom to Mallya, extended 40 years ago, which he repaid on time without any default. Stating that ups and downs are part and parcel of any business, the Union Minister said that if someone goes through a downward cycle, then he or she has to be supported.


Gadkari said: “Agar Nirav Modi ki baat hai, fraud hai, usko jail mein bhejna chahiye. Agar Mallyaji ne kuch fraud paper diye, galat kiya toh bhejo, koi problem nahin hai. Par jo aadmi adchan mein aata agar usko hum yahin thappa laga denge ki woh fraud hai, toh humari economy aage nahin jaayegi.”


“As far as Nirav Modi is concerned, if he is a fraud, he should be sent to jail. If Mallyaji has given some fraud paper or done anything wrong, he should also be sent, there is no problem. But if we stamp every person who runs into problems as fraud, our economy will not go forward.)”


Well done, Minister Nadkari.

(By M K Shukla)

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