LONDON: Drinks tycoon and motor racing boss Vijay Mallya faces a sensitive diary clash this week as the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix coincides with an appointment to appear before the Enforcement Directorate.
Mallya, under pressure from banks to repay $1.4 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines, left India for Britain on March 2. His departure sparked outrage in Parliament, after creditors had asked courts to ensure he stayed in the country.
A senior official from the Enforcement Directorate(ED) said last week that Mallya had been summoned for questioning this Friday as part of an investigation related to one of the bank loans.
Friday is also the first official practice day before Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. Mallya, who co-owns Britain-based team Force India and regularly attends races, did not respond to a request for comment on whether he plans to go.
If he does, without first making a pit stop back home, it is likely to trigger further uproar in India. Mallya, who sports a goatee, an ear stud and a ponytail, is one of India’s most flamboyant entrepreneurs and a fixture in the society pages.
DIFFICULT WORDS AND MEANINGS:
- Tycoon: a wealthy, powerful person in business or industry
- Coincides: occur at the same time
- Collapsed: suddenly fall down or give way
- Outrage: Arouse fierce anger or shock
- Summoned: order (someone) to be present
- Uproar: a public expression of protest or outrage
- Flamboyant:tending to attract attention because of their confidence and stylishness.
- Entrepreneurs: a person who sets up a business by taking on financial risks
Source: The Times of India