Congress real beneficiary of Mallya's business, says BJP

BJP hits back at Rahul's demand for Jaitley's resignation

Union minister Piyush Goyal leaves after addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters in New Delhi | PTI Union minister Piyush Goyal leaves after addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters in New Delhi | PTI

After their slugfest over the Rafale deal, the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are involved in a bitter war of words over fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya's claims that he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before he fled to England. Hitting back at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's demand for Jaitley's resignation, the BJP on Thursday said his party and the previous government were indeed the benefactors and even beneficiaries of Mallya's business.

BJP played old news videos of then prime minister Manmohan Singh talking about if the government would help Kingfisher Airlines come out of the economic distress.

The BJP held two press conferences during the day to attack Rahul Gandhi and the previous UPA government for their alleged links with Mallya.

“This exposes Congress' lies about bailing out Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines,” Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said addressing a press meet at the BJP headquarters. He was referring to the 2011 news videos of the then UPA government offering help to Kingfisher Airlines to come out of difficulties.

“This shows the propensity with which the Congress continues to cover their lies... It was a conspiracy including the then PM (Manmohan Singh) and civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi,” Goyal alleged.

Goyal rubbished Congress' allegations that Jaitley met Mallya and helped him escape, saying that it was after pressure from the Modi government to recover money that Mallya fled the country.

On allegations of changing the lookout notice, Goyal said it was done by the investigating agencies. “It shows they were independent and not misused by the government,” he said.

“They should tell us one instance of favour in giving loan or government bailing out Mallya. Instead, it was a conspiracy between Mallya and Rahul Gandhi as to how many times businessman's companies were bailed out. We have given free hand to to investigating agencies,” the senior BJP leaded added.

However, it was not just the Congress which has raised doubts over Mallya's actions before leaving the country, even senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniam Swamy have pointed fingers to the ministry of finance over allegedly helping the businessman escape.

Goyal downplayed Swamy's allegations saying there was no basis to those questions.

Earlier, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had alleged that Rahul Gandhi was on the back foot over Kingfisher Airlines. “Sometimes it seems the airlines wasn't owned by Mallya but by Gandhi family in proxy. Benefits that Gandhi family got out of Kingfisher Airlines via business class upgradation, free tickets etc are in public domain,” Patra had said.