Ahead of his extradition hearing before the London's Westminster Magistrate Court, Vijay Mallya on Wednesday claimed that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country. "Why didn't the finance minister then inform CBI or ED?" the Congress president asked at a press conference in Delhi.
The Indian government says Kingfisher took out a series of loans from Indian banks, in particular the state-owned IDBI, with the aim of palming off huge losses which Mallya knew the failing airline was going to sustain.
Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India. The government should now explain how and why he was allowed to leave and what transpired at those meetings. "People want to know".
"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".
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Mallya's defence team also rubbished the video of Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the businessman is to be held if he was to be extradited to India, as having been freshly painted to give the perception of brightness that did not exist.
As soon as Jaitley's clarification came out, BJP leaders attacked Congress by saying "it has clearly exposed the false stand of Congress and Vijay Mallya".
The Congress president accused Jaitley and the government of lying on the issue. "There was no need to run and the allegations are media created allegations", he said. But, it was nearly a week by then since Mallya left the country. The judge has set December 10 as the next date, which is when a verdict is expected. Indian authorities wouldn't have been in a situation to endlessly wait outside United Kingdom court rooms to get a favourable judgment for Mallya's extradition and even make a presentation to United Kingdom judges about the facilities an conditions of Indian jails. There are CCTV cameras, we can all see that for proof. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Mallya's revelation shows that the BJP is running "a travel, tour and immigration agency for looters to settle abroad". Had the government moved the court pushing for Mallya's detention, or directed the investigators including CBI to detain him citing the seriousness of the case, or at least if the CBI hadn't changed the nature of look out notice a few months before the escape, Mallya would not have left the country.