Mallya’s ‘Escape’ Has Exposed India’s Entire Political Class, Bureaucracy And Banks

Mohan Guruswami, on his facebook wall

Mallya is right. He did not flee as he was not wanted by the authorities at the moment of departure. On the day he left he was seen at Central Hall in Parliament talking to his political friends and patrons, including several top opposition leaders and ministers. What were they talking about? Were they seeking tips on the Invitation Cup for champion racehorses? Or about whether he will have accommodations in London for the next Wimbledon? Or whether they can get an autographed copy of his signature Kingfisher calendar?

As a matter of fact he was told by the “authority” to leave before the process was set off. But then what is Mallya being charged with? He offered a patently bogus collateral and it was accepted by the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India. Mallya might have thought the Kingfisher Airlines brand name was worth several thousand crores, but didnt the bankers know that a failing and loss making airline was not worth very much? By focussing on Mallya, we are missing the bankers who facilitated a fraud, and the bureaucrats and politicians who favored it. Mallya was favored by the entire political and bureaucratic establishment.

To this extent he is different from Ottavio Quattrochchi who parlayed his connection with one family into a fortune for himself. Q was not a son of India. Mallya is one of our own. Congress, BJP, Janata Dal, NCP, CPM – all can claim a bit of him. Lets not forget that it was his money that Adikeshavulu used to bail out the Narasimha Rao government for paying off the JMM MP’s. Lets not forget that he paid the BJP for surplus votes to get elected to the Rajya Sabha, not once but twice. Lets not forget Praful Patel who gave him favored check-in slots at various airports in Indian Airlines terminals.

Then again Mallya is small fry compared to the real kings of big debts. The country is being set off on a wild goose chase, while the big fellows are sitting with the PM advising him on how to set right the economy. Their NPA’s are truly mind boggling. Half a dozen each have NPA’s of more than Rs.40,000 crores each. Why doesnt the government order an audit about the quality of their collateral? Let Jaitely do just this and we can give him an indulgency. Sau khoon maaf.

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