Liquor baron Vijay Mallya sparked off a political storm after he claimed on Wednesday that he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to settle his dues before leaving India. Mallya also claimed that the banks had filed objections to his settlement letters, reported ANI.
The now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines boss, while heading inside the Westminster Magistrates Court in London in connection with his extradition case, also said that he was ready for a comprehensive settlement.
"I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," he told reporters.
Jaitley was quick to refute Mallya's claims saying that they do not reflect truth. “The statement of Vijay Mallaya that he met me & offered settlement is factually false in as much as it does not reflect truth. Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise.”
He further said: “Since he (Mallya) was a member of the 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'.”
In a series of tweets, Jaitley also said, “I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand. Besides this one sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a RS Member to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me.”
The Congress targeted Jaitley over Mallya's claims saying the party has been repeatedly asserting for last over 18 months that not only Mallya but Nirav Modi, Choksi and many others have been allowed with impunity. "Question remains how he could have left after everyone knew of his debts and NPAs," says party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: “It's a fact that all of us had known earlier. Whatever denials the government may issue, it confirms that all those who looted public money by taking loans from banks and absconded, not one of them happened to leave the country without knowledge of the government.
The 62-year-old business tycoon is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore. Mallya had apposed his extradition, saying Indian jails do not have proper air and light.
Meanwhile, Mallya's lawyer told the court that the IDBI bank officials were well aware of the losses at Kingfisher. The emails from IDBI officials show that the government's accusation of Mallya hiding losses is baseless, he said.
He also told the court that there is no evidence that Mallya or Kingfisher applied for bank loans with bad intent.
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016. He was arrested by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April this year.