Multi-crore loan defaulter Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court in a money laundering case, was spotted at a book launch event at London School of Economics this week. Indian envoy to UK Navtej Sarna, too attended the event held at the London School of Economics (LSE) to mark the launch of Suhel Seth’s new book ‘Mantras for Success: India’s Greatest CEOs Tell You How to Win’.
In a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), envoy Sarna left the event without waiting for the interactive session after he spotted Mallya. Sarna was one of the special guests at Thursday’s event.
“When the High Commissioner spotted Mallya in the audience he left the stage and venue immediately after making his comments and without waiting for the interactive session,” the MEA said in the statement.
The MEA further said that “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… Mallya was certainly not an invitee to the reception at the High Commission for which the invitations were issued by the High Commission.”
While the author Suhel Seth was present when the businessman arrived, he claimed that Mallya was not an invited guest at the event.
“About @TheVijayMallya at my book launch. It was an open @SAsiaLSE & advertised on Twitter. No specific invitations. Anyone could attend.” Seth wrote in a micro-blogging site Twitter.
He also went on to clarify that India envoy had left the venue soon after realising Mallya’s presence at the venue saying, “Upon realising that @TheVijayMallya was in the audience as any other person, @NavtejSarna left before the Q&A expressing displeasure.”
The event was organised by the 100 Foot Journey Club, set up as collaboration between the Indian High Commission and LSE last month as a forum to discuss and debate issues of contemporary relevance within the India-UK sphere.
The club had launched in May with a talk at LSE on ‘Rethinking the Global Monetary System’ by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.
(With inputs from the PTI)