Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's defence that his meeting with industrialist Vijay Mallya was a passing one does not hold water, the Congress said on Wednesday, demanding full disclosure from the Centre. It was only after Mallya had made the claim outside a London court on Wednesday that the finance minister issued a formal statement confirming the exchange and describing the absconder's statement as "factually false".
"My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallaya on having met me with an offer of settlement". So, when finance minister gave statements in Parliament on Vijay Mallya issue, he should have mentioned about this meeting with Mallya. The Union Minister said he had never given him any appointments for any meeting since 2014.
In a Facebook post, Jaitley said that Mallya had "misused" his privilege of being a member of the Rajya Sabha and "paced to catch up" with him while he was walking out of the Rajya Sabha. "Having being fully briefed about his "bluff offers", without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him "there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers". I even did not receive any paper from him at that time.
Vijay Mallya told the reporters that he had to leave the country for a scheduled meeting in Geneva and met the finance minister before he left, repeated his offer to settle with the banks. It was followed by a related enforcement order in June, granting permission to the UK High Court Enforcement Officer to enter Mallya's properties in Hertfordshire, near London, where he has been based since he left India in March 2016.
Adding another twist to the Vijay Mallya saga, a UK court today set December 10 as the date for the verdict on Vijay Mallyas's extradition from United Kingdom.
The remarks by Mallya came as he arrived at the Westminster Magistrates' Court for a hearing in his extradition case, during which the judge is expected to review a video of the Mumbai jail cell prepared by the Indian authorities for the embattled liquor tycoon. Mallya said that the statement was blown out of proportion by the media.
"I am a political football..."
"I have no comment, you are hearing everything in court", he added on further questions by the reporters.
Rahul Gandhi called Mallya's claim "extremely serious allegations".
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too questioned that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers need to explain their meetings with the economic fugitives.
India wants to extradite 62-year-old Indian businessman from Britain to face criminal action relating to loans taken out by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and Indian authorities want to recover about $1.4 billion they say Kingfisher owes.