Describing beleaguered business tycoon Vijay Mallya as a "son of the soil" who is not "running away" from the country, former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda today questioned why money was not being recovered from other big defaulters.
"There are 60 other major people who have defaulted and only Mallya's case is hogging headlines in the media. Why? The media is bothered about Mallya because he is a Rajya Sabha member. Otherwise who is bothered about him and his case," Gowda told PTI here.
However, he said it was up to the government to take action against Mallya.
JDS's backing had helped Mallya become a Rajya Sabha member for two terms from Karnataka in 2002 and 2010.
Asked whether it was right to say that Mallya has fled the country, Gowda said, "As per the tweets which he posted, he is willing to cooperate with various wings of the government and judiciary to solve the problem."
"He (Mallya) is a son of the soil, he is not running away from the country," he said.
Asked to comment on submissions by Mallya's counsel in the Debt Recovery Tribunal that the business tycoon was a small fry compared to other bigger defaulters, he said, "Whether he is a small fry or not, he has to repay the debt to the banks. After all, it is people's money."
Questioned whether he was, in a way, supporting Mallya, Gowda said, "Why should I support and how can I support when the central government has already taken steps to take action against Mallya?"