Deve Gowda is not the first politician who came in defence of Mallya. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also termed him gentleman.
"He's a son of Karnataka soil, he is not running away from the country," said former PM HD Deve Gowda.
Raising objection to Mallya being termed as an absconder, Gowda said, the Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to Mallya and he has already replied to those.
"These days every airlines facing the losses, so no need to target a person who is a global businessman," the JD(S) leader opined.
The Enforcement Directorate(ED) on March 11 issued summons for appearance to liquor baron Vijay Mallya besides questioning a senior executive of Kingfisher airlines as part of its money laundering probe in the alleged default in payment of Rs 900 crore dues to IDBI bank.
Official sources said Mallya has been summoned to appear before investigators of the ED here on March 18.