Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Mallya-Jaitley meeting: Nirmala Sitharaman says Congress’ demand for FM’s resignation motivated

Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India
Andrew Cummings | 14 September, 2018, 07:01

Allegations flew thick and fast on Thursday between the Congress and the BJP over the Vijay Mallya affair - Rahul Gandhi accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of lying to hide the "free passage" he allegedly gave to the defaulter aviation tycoon to flee to London, while the ruling party counter-claimed the Gandhi family tried to salvage the sinking Kingfisher Airlines with a "sweet deal". Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the BJP alleged, owned the now defunct Kingfisher Airline by proxy and there are "18 pages worth of evidence" about their links, the BJP said.

The CBI issued a fresh LoC against Mallya in the last week of November, 2015 asking airport authorities across the country to "inform" it about Mallya's movements, thus replacing its previous circular which had sought detention of the businessman if he attempted to leave the country, they said. On Wednesday, Vijay Mallya in a sensational claim said that he had met FM Jaitley in the Parliament to settle matters before he left India.

Responding to a query sent by The Indian Express over Mallya's meeting with Jaitley and details of offer of settlement, Clare Montgomery, Mallya's lawyer in the extradition case in London, said: "I am not permitted under my professional rules to make any comment about this case, either on or off the record".

"I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand".

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave says he offered this advice after top SBI management, having an inkling that Mallya may flee India, insisted on meeting Dave on Sunday, February 28, 2016. However, now speaking in Jaitley's defence, Nirmala Sitharaman added that Vijay Mallya's brief conversation with Jaitley in a corridor of Parliament was not of any merit.

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Mallya added that he had made a "comprehensive settlement" offer before the Karnataka High Court that will help in paying off all his dues. Otherwise, nobody can stop you. A meeting was held with Jaitley and Mallya. Banks went to court for seeking an order.

The liquor baron is facing money laundering charges in multi-crore fraud case in India, which wants him extradited from the United Kingdom where he fled to in March 2016.

Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April a year ago, responded to the swarm of reporters gathered outside the court in his characteristic manner, saying the "courts will decide". If I am wrong, I will quit politics.

"Rahul Gandhi has gone on back foot over Kingfisher Airlines", ANI quoted Patra as saying.

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