London: Declared a proclaimed offender in a money laundering case and wanted in India, liquor baron Vijay Mallya was spotted at a book launch event at the London School of Economics (LSE) this week that was attended by the Indian High Commissioner Navtej Sarna, causing flutters back home. Social media was in frenzy after it emerged that Sarna, who was one of the special guests at the event on Thursday evening to mark the launch of socialite Suhel Seth’s new book, was also present at the event when the business tycoon arrived.
As television news channels showed pictures of Sarna and Mallya in the hall where the event was held, questions were raised over the presence of the high commissioner at an event where a personality wanted by enforcement agencies in India was also present. Suhel Seth contended that it was an open event at the LSE, where anyone could come because of the open invitation, Mallya was not invited and he probably came on his own.
And to the subsequent event at the high commission reception neither was he invited nor was he present. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also got into the act when it issued a statement, saying Sarna left the event without waiting for the interactive session after he spotted Mallya. “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. PTI
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