Mallya discovers the virtue of khadi
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Formula One's paddock, a highly exclusive area where team buildings are housed, usually has an air of indifference about it: drivers, tycoons and socialites move freely without being bothered, or sometimes even noticed. But that changed on Saturday, as Kingfisher boss Vijay Mallya made his first public appearance in recent weeks.
The high-flying Force India F1 owner had became elusive after the Kingfisher Airlines crisis broke out, triggering speculation that he may give the Indian Grand Prix a miss.
As the broadcasters showed images of Mallya, clad in a Force India t-shirt, speaking to his team deputy in the paddock, mediapersons made a beeline for him. Mallya was eventually spotted in front of the F1 management building, giving a British journalist an exclusive interview.
"Was there any doubt about my presence here? Obviously if I am not at my home grand prix, why should I be anywhere else?" Mallya was heard telling the reporter.
Asked how he arrived in the country, Mallya retorted: "You are probably referring to my plane being seized? I don't owe anybody money. Why should my plane be at risk?"
While he refused to take any questions on Kingfisher, he was more forthcoming on Twitter. "I have learnt the hard way that in India, wealth should not be displayed. Better to be a multi-billionaire politician dressed in khadi," he tweeted.
"Kingfisher is probably the most written about airline in the world thanks to Indian media. Top of mind brand recall must be at its highest," he tweeted.
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