Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Congress slams Jaitley after Mallya says he met him

Vijay Mallya claims he met Finance Minister before leaving India Arun Jaitley rubbishes charge IDBI officials knew of losses at Kingfisher, claims Mallya's lawyer
Kenny Thornton | 13 September, 2018, 12:50

Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya said on Wednesday that he met the finance minister before leaving India and told him he's going to London, a sensational claim denied by Arun Jaitley as "factually false". "That is the truth", he told reporters outside a Westminster Magistrate court where he is fighting an extradition case filed by Indian authorities.

Further alleging "collusion" between Jaitley and Mallya, the Congress president demanded resignation of the Finance Minister.

In a statement issued on Facebook, the Finance Minister said that Mallya's statement is "factually false". Asked by reporters if he had met other BJP leaders before leaving India, Mallya said: "Over a period of time, I met many colleagues (in Parliament) and expressed my desire to settle with banks".

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately order an independent probe into Mallya's "extremely serious allegations" and Jaitley should step down while the investigation is underway.

On 1 March: Mallya attends the Rajya Sabha in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.

Jaitley said he had never given Mallya any appointment to meet him since 2014 and "the question of his having met me does not arise".

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Later, he clarified there was no formal meeting, and his words were blown out of proportion.

Vijay Mallya has run away after looting money from banks and the government had this information.

"This is a totally unnecessary controversy created by friends in the media".

The hearing began with television screens in the courtroom switched on to show a video submitted by India of conditions at Mumbai's Arthur Road jail, where Mallya is to be held if extradited.

Terming Mallya's offer to settle overdue loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as "bluff offers", Jaitley said he did not even take the papers the liquor baron was carrying during that brief encounter. He has been engaged in a legal battle over his extradition to India on charges of banking fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore. The remarks also come on the back of charges by the Opposition that the government lax attitude had allowed "defaulters" such as Mallya to flee the country. The second time it was done by the request of the government, he added, citing what he said were letters from the Reserve Bank of India. "Do we need anymore proof that this govt.is in the pocket of crony capitalists".

Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April previous year, responded to the swarm of reporters gathered outside the court in his characteristic manner, saying the "courts will decide".

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