You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Battle-lines drawn as Cong, BJP draw swords over Vijay Mallya

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The and the BJP on Thursday were locked in a fierce war of words over the case with openly accusing the minister of lying and allowing the billionaire tycoon to flee the country. The BJP threw a counter punch, claiming that the Gandhi family tried to help Mallya's floundering Airlines in 2011-12.

A day after the former Airlines boss said in that he met Arun before leaving and offered to settle his dues -- a charge the minister denied as "false" -- the battle-lines were firmly drawn. Seeking to back his accusation, said party P L saw sitting with in on March 1, 2016 and held an elaborate 15-20 minute meeting with him.

added that he had seen and talking discreetly when he was in the

"On March 3, we heard from the media that he (Mallya) fled the country on March 2. I have clearly stated about this in each of my interview with the media. There are CCTV cameras, we can all see that for proof. If I am wrong, I will resign from politics," said at a press conference. Stepping up his attack,Gandhi asked Jaitley to resign and challenged Jaitley to get CCTV footage of the day.

"Mr Jaitley is lying, the government is lying on and the government is lying on A meeting was held with Mr and The logistics of Mr Mallya leaving the country were discussed in that meeting," Gandhi alleged, bringing in the fighter jet deal.

He went on to say that Mallya was given free passage out of the country by the minister.

Describing it as an "open and shut case of collusion", he alleged there was some deal between Jaitley and Mallya.

"The criminal had told him, 'I am going to run away to London'. The finance minister has accepted publicly that he has been told by a criminal that he is going to run away and the finance minister has not done anything, has not informed the CBI, and has not informed the ED," Gandhi said.

The BJP hit back with equal ferocity, blaming the of giving a "sweet deal" to Airlines to keep it afloat and suggesting the airlines was perhaps owned by the Gandhi family.

"There is a series of letters between the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the SBI (State Bank of India). These letters show us how the previous dispensation under Sonia Gandhi was biased, partial and kept all norms and regulations at bay to give a sweet deal to Kingfisher Airlines," told reporters, showing a bunch of documents.

"Sometimes it seems the was not owned by Mallya, but by the Gandhi family in proxy," Patra added.

joined the chorus of protest from the ruling party and said should explain the relations between his family and Mallya.

The now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines was given loans bypassing all norms, laws and regulations, Goyal said. Countering Rahul Gandhi's demand for Jaitley's resignation, he said the should instead quit all the posts he holds.

Mallya, he asserted, had no credibility as he was under the "glare of law" and was a criminal. He could not be taken seriously, Goyal added.

His party colleague also spoke on the issue.

"We have now two undeniable facts on the Mallya escape issue: 1. Look Out Notice was diluted on Oct 24, 2015 from 'Block' to 'Report' departure enabling Mallya to depart with 54 checked luggage items. 2. Mallya told FM in that he was leaving for London," he said on

Immediately after Jaitley's sharp rebuttal Wednesday, Mallya had appeared to tone down the seriousness of his comments, saying it was "not fair" to create a controversy over this issue as it was not a "formal meeting" and he only "happened to meet" the finance minister.

The 62-year-old former liquor and aviation baron, who had appeared before a court in the case regarding his extradition to to face the trial on fraud and money laundering charges, was asked by reporters if he was "tipped off" to leave the country.

"I left because I had a scheduled meeting in I met the finance minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," he responded.

Jaitley, who was finance minister in 2016 when Mallya left India, said in a post that he had not given Mallya an appointment to meet him since 2014.

Jaitley said Mallya had "misused" the privilege of being a Rajya Sabha to catch him in corridors of Parliament on one occasion while he was walking out of the House to go to his room.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, September 13 2018. 18:45 IST