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India’s Former ‘King of Good Times’ Vijay Mallya Arrested in London

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Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya in 2012. British police arrested him on Tuesday, as part of extradition proceedings that could lead to him being sent back to India, which he fled more than a year ago under an avalanche of unpaid bills and accusations of fraud. Credit: Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Vijay Mallya spent a lifetime building a reputation as India’s professed King of Good Times, a grandiloquent tycoon with ties to alcohol, an airline and a Formula 1 racing team. But his freewheeling lifestyle was brought to a screeching halt last year when he fled India under an avalanche of unpaid bills and accusations of fraud.

The cap of his stunning fall from grace was magnified Tuesday when British authorities in London arrested him as part of proceedings that could lead to his extradition to India.

Mallya came to symbolize many of the heights, and excesses, of Indian business in the decades of economic growth that followed the country’s deregulation in the early 1990s. He ultimately became a target of authorities, partly because his public displays of wealth came even as his company fell behind on salary payments to staff. Often compared to British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the 61-year-old Mallya turned what was once a small family business into a sprawling conglomerate. He now owns the United Breweries Group, which makes Kingfisher beer and distributes a wide variety of products, including alcohol, chemicals and fertilizer. He also has a stake in India’s only Formula One car racing team, Force India.

His 60th birthday bash was one for the ages — held at his villa in the coastal Indian state of Goa, it included acts from the singer Enrique Iglesias, as well as appearances from Bollywood stars and top Indian businessmen.

“I work hard, and I play hard, too,” Mallya once said.

However, his outsize ambitions proved to be his ultimate demise.

In 2003, Mallya established an airline, with plans to expand internationally and shift from an all-economy-class model to add a luxurious business class. He made a splash at the Paris Air Show in 2007 with a $7 billion order for 50 Airbus planes. On Mallya’s airline, even short-haul flights would have meal service, and curbside valets. Its flight attendants wore the bright red uniforms, mirroring those worn by staff members on Branson’s Virgin Atlantic.

Kingfisher Airlines struggled to gain ground in a competitive domestic market, and as time passed, the company was left with a fleet of aging and inefficient planes. By 2012, after persuading lenders to restructure its debt, it ceased operations in the face of high fuel prices and a global slowdown.

The airline carried debts north of $1 billion, as well as other bills, including back pay to former employees. Because Mallya himself, and the United Breweries Group, had backed some of the loans, creditors chased them for repayment. As the dispute went through the courts, banks tried to seize his assets. Indian authorities raided his homes and offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa in 2015.

He fled India for Britain in March 2016, the Indian government revoked his passport the following month, a moved that was prefaced by the issuing of an arrest warrant. India sent Britain an official request for Mallya’s extradition on Feb. 8.

Tuesday, Metropolitan Police in London said its extradition unit had arrested Mallya “on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.”

Mallya appeared in a London court and was released on bail, according to Dinesh K. Patnaik, India’s deputy high commissioner in London. Mallya is scheduled to appear for another hearing next month. “The willingness of the U.K. government in bringing him to justice is something we are appreciative of,” Patnaik said.

According to the British Home Office, arrest warrants are issued in response to extradition requests only if such requests are certified by officials and then sent to a court for the warrant to be issued. If the judge at Mallya’s extradition hearing approves the request for him to be sent back to India, then it is sent to Britain’s home secretary for final approval.

Mallya dismissed the news as “media hype,” but he confirmed on Twitter that an extradition hearing began on Tuesday.

He has previously disputed accusations that he fled India to avoid bad debts, saying on Twitter that he travels “to and from India frequently.”

“I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder,” he added. “Rubbish.”

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Ivanka Trump meets Indian Minister Sushma Swaraj during UN general session

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Ivanka Trump Sushma Saraj
Ivanka Trump Sushma Saraj

President Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the annual UN General Assembly session in New York. Photo courtesy of Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — President Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the annual UN General Assembly session in New York.

Ivanka, who is leading the American delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in India in November, discussed women’s entrepreneurship and workforce development.

“We had a great discussion on women’s entrepreneurship, the upcoming #GES2017 and workforce development in the U.S. and India,” Ivanka tweeted after the meeting. The summit will be co-hosted by India and the U.S. in Hyderabad Nov. 28 to 30. The annual event is a premier gathering of emerging entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders from around the world.

The 35-year-old Ivanka expressed her respect for Swaraj, whom she described on Twitter as a “charismatic” foreign minister.

“I have long respected India’s accomplished and charismatic Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and it was an honor to meet her today,” Ivanka stated.

Swaraj discussed “Women Empowerment” and Ivanka’s forthcoming visit to India, the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. stated.

Leading a high-powered Indian delegation, Swaraj will be hosting several meetings with Global leaders.

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Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

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Roma Khanna
Roma Khanna

Sean Combs Announces Roma Khanna CEO of Revolt TV

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Sean Combs has announced Roma Khanna the CEO of Revolt TV.

“As Revolt continues to grow as a brand and expand globally, I knew we needed a seasoned executive with a proven track record to keep the momentum going and help me lead the network into the future,” said Combs. “Roma is that person. She has the experience and tenacity to build on Revolt’s success and as we continue to influence content and culture around the world.”

“After decades of building large-scale businesses in TV and media, I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside visionary Sean Combs to get hands-on and redefine content models with a view to building a modern, relevant, global cultural brand,” said Khanna. “Revolt is ready to create and curate content and super-serve its audience on its own TV platform and beyond, living and breathing with its audience wherever they might be.”

Revolt says the company’s mission is to build on its platform to offer long- and short-form content revolving around hip-hop music and culture. According to Revolt’s website, “REVOLT is focused on expertly curating the best of the best in music and engaging youth in social conversation – on-air, on-line, on-demand. The multi-genre, multi-platform network offers breaking music news, videos, artist interviews, exclusive performances, and original programming.”

Revolt claims to have over 50 million young adult consumers through television, digital properties, social and mobile. REVOLT is accessible 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Khanna left MGM, where she served as president, in late 2015. She helped launch FX’s “Fargo” and History’s “Vikings.” She spent three years as president of global networks for NBC Universal’s international networks wing. She also oversaw the development of Hulu hit “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Revolt had been without a CEO for a year, since Keith Clinkscales left the company last August. Revolt launched as a linear channel in the U.S. in October 2013 and has since expanded to Africa and the Caribbean.

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Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

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Vas Narasimhan
Vas Narasimhan

Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Switzerland-based biotech giant Novartis says Indian American physician Vas Narasimhan will take reins as CEO on Feb. 1.

The 41-year-old Narasimhan joined Novartis in 2005. He currently serves as the company’s Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. He is also a member of Novartis’ Executive Committee.

“Both from a professional and a personal perspective, this is the right moment to hand the leadership reins of the company to Vas,” said current Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “Our strong pipeline and the strategic moves we have taken to focus the company have put Novartis on a strong path for the future. On the personal side, after 10 wonderful years in Switzerland, my family is ready to return to Silicon Valley and the U.S. I’m confident that Vas will be an excellent successor.”

Joerg Reinhardt, chairman of the Novartis board of directors, said the company anticipates “a smooth transition, as Joe built a strong leadership team and mentored his successor.”

Narasimhan graduated from Harvard Medical School. He also has a master’s in public policy from the university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He earned undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago.

Prior to joining Novartis, he worked at McKinsey & Company, first as a consultant and then as an engagement manager.

An elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Narasimhan has held a number of positions at Novartis.

Reinhardt expressed confidence in Narasimhan’s ability to lead the company to “expected next growth phase … The strength of Novartis is our ability to drive science-based innovation. Vas is deeply anchored in medical science, has significant experience in managing the interfaces between Research and Development and commercial units and has strong business acumen with a track record of outstanding achievements. As a physician, he has a strong patient focus and a genuine humane perspective and care for the mission and values of Novartis. As a result, the Board of Directors is confident that Vas is the right choice to lead Novartis on our expected next growth phase, driving innovation and further strengthening our competitive position.”

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