As fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday said he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country, the Congress took a dig at him dubbing him as "fiscal mismanagement blog minister".
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss' defence team, led by Clare Montgomery, opened the day by branding the government of India's evidence presented in the case as "utterly unfounded". So, when finance minister gave statements in Parliament on Vijay Mallya issue, he should have mentioned about this meeting with Mallya. "Finance Minister Arun Jaitley must resign and this should be investigated", Gandhi said.
Vijay Mallya has been charged with money laundering and bank fraud worth Rs 9000 crore and fighting an extradition case.
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"Since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion, having been fully briefed about his earlier "bluff offers", I curtly told him "there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers", Jaitley said. I hope the honourable judges will consider it favourably; everybody gets paid off and I guess that's the primary objective", said Mallya, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April a year ago and is fighting extradition to India.
At a press conference minutes later, Rahul Gandhi said one of its leaders had witnessed Arun Jaitley and Vijay Mallya having a discussion in parliament just two days before the fugitive tycoon's flight to the UK. The Rs 9,000-crore loan given by 17- state-run banks to the failed Kingfisher airline had turned an NPA (Non-performing asset) long back in 2011-2012 and a bank consortium was very close to moving Supreme Court seeking Mallya's detention fearing he'll escape the country.
"On March 3, we heard from the media that he (Mr. Mallya) fled the country on March 2".
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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. Banks went to court for seeking an order. "The banks had filed objections to my settlement letters", Mallya said outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court where he had come for a hearing in his extradition case. "Rahul Gandhi travelled free in Kingfisher Airlines, which was once owned by Mallya", Sambit Patra said. Also, if he felt a declared defaulter of bank loans to the tune of thousands of crores was trying to use his privilege as a Rajya Sabha MP to influence a cabinet minister, he ought to have informed the House about it or shared the information with the media. "The notice issued for Vijay Mallya was changed to the inform notice".
Jaitley probably owes another clarification on why he gave a major miss to Mallya's clue on the great escape to United Kingdom, the dream safe haven for a number of fraudsters.
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