Vijay Mallya’s flight to England has opened up a veritable can of worms. Every day there are little-known strands coming to light about his business and personal life, from the giant loan defaults to the marquee properties. What is not being discussed as much is his political life and the conflict of interest.
The chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2002 and is a member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Standing Committee on Commerce. The committee oversees India’s aviation ministry. Its responsibilities include vetting bills drafted by the ministry, and evaluating its demands for grants.
A seat on the panel gives Mallya “access to information, and an unfair advantage to influence policy”, said former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, calling this “a serious conflict of interest”.
The question is: how do these emerge. How do so many bizmen get into the Rajya Sabha? Once in, how do they land up in the Parliamentary Committee of their choosing?