Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India
Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of colluding with business tycoon Vijay Mallya, claiming there was evidence of the two meeting in Parliament for over 15 minutes. "That is the truth", he told reporters outside a London court hearing a case for his extradition. "On 1st March 2016, when I was in Central Hall of Parliament House, I witnessed Arun Jaitley and Vijay Mallya talking discretely".
Jaitley, however, took to Facebook to dismiss Mallya's claims as being "factually false".
Before attending the Westminster Magistrates" Court, the former Kingfisher Boss was inundated with many journalist questions and to one of their asks, he said "I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva.
Rahul Gandhi called Mallya's claim "extremely serious allegations". I met the finance minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle the issue with the banks.
On being asked if he was "tipped off" to flee the country, he added: "Absolutely not".
Jaitley's clarification that he didn't meet Mallya officially and snubbed his settlement offer isn't enough. "In this anticipation, he (Mallya) left earlier", Jaitley had said, adding that "it would have been better had banks started the process earlier". "There was no need to run and the allegations are media created allegations", he said.
One can forget about Mallya's talk with Jaitley about the settlement part, this was anyway not acceptable for banks since Mallya was offering much less than what the banks claimed he owed them. This is Vijay Mallya's cell where the fugitive businessman is supposed to be lodged.
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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.
Mallya, an alleged financial offender, is facing charges of bank fraud and money laundering in India, amounting to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Also Read | Will Mallya be extradited to India? 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.
Earlier, talking to reporters Mallya said the media should question the banks why they are not supporting him in his efforts to repay.
Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April past year, responded to the swarm of reporters gathered outside the court in his characteristic manner, saying the "courts will decide".
He said there were CCTV cameras, and "we can all see that for proof".
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