Former UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya who on 2 March left the country Monday said he has not given any statement to any media, referring to an interview that appeared in The Sunday Guardian. To be sure, Mallya's retractions comes nearly two days after the interview was published on the website of Sunday Guardian.
“Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification. I have not given any statement to anyone," Mallya wrote on his Twitter account on Monday night.
Mallya, who has not revealed his whereabouts, said in an interview that appeared in Delhi-based Sunday Guardian, “I am an Indian to the core. Of course I want to return. But I'm not sure I'll get a fair chance to present my side. I've already been branded as criminal. I do not feel the time is right. I feel passions are high. People need to think rationally. They need to understand that business, whether large or small, has risks involved."
Mint could not immediately contact Sunday Guardian for a comment. The link to the interview is still live on the newspaper's website. Reacting to Mallya's statement on Monday late night, Joyeeta Basu, who was identified as a journalist with Sunday Guardian, tweeted that the paper stands by its interview and presented the email trail between the reporter and Mallya. “Encrypted email id confirmed by his legal counsel," Basu wrote. The email exchange took place between the reporter and Mallya on email@example.com, according to the snapshots of the email posted on Twitter.
However, Mallya reiterated that Sunday Guardian's claim that he wrote to them from his so-called protonmail account is a total fake. “Never ever had nor do I have a protonmail e-mail account. As I said earlier I have never ever heard of protonmail," Mallya wrote tweeted.
“We stand by the Vijay Mallya interview in the @SundayGuardian and we will be putting up the email trail that culminated in his interview," Abhinandan Mishra who has identified as a journalist with Sunday Guardian had tweeted on Monday. “It seems Mr.Mallya's lawyer & a political friend had an epiphany after which Mallya denied d interview more than 45 hrs after it went online," Mishra wrote.
Ironically, the interview appeared on a day when Mallya tweeted that he does not want to speak to media. “I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly, they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don't waste your efforts," Mallya tweeted earlier on Sunday. He did not elaborate on the “obvious place" he mentioned. In the interview, Mallya was cited as saying, “but I hope that I return one day. India has given me everything. It made me Vijay Mallya."
According to the interview, Mallya said he had never hidden any aspect about his life and he has been forced to go into hiding, making him “sick". Asked about leaving the country, he said he left from Delhi for a personal visit with a friend and it wasn't a business visit.