Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday denied claims by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who earlier in the day said he had met the finance minister before fleeing the country in 2016. One of them was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who asked, "Why did the Finance Minister hide this information till now?" Although Jaitley was quick to release a statement saying the meeting with Mallya was unscheduled and he advised him to meet the banks, the sensational claim raises a larger question that if a senior cabinet minister knew that Mallya was going to fly away to London, could the government have done more to keep him in the country?
Shortly after the story surfaced, the union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to his official Facebook page saying that the statement made by Vijay Mallya to media is "factually false", adding that he has not given him any appointment in since 2014. I said I want to settle with the banks and would he please facilitate these discussions. He told, "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.
Recalling the occasion when Mallya "misused" his position as an MP, Jaitley wrote that the fraud accused had paced up to catch up with him when the FM was walking out of the House to go to his room.
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Gandhi also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking if the finance minister allowed Mallya to escape on his own or "was it an order from the prime minister?"
Mark Summers, the lawyer acting for the Indian government, said it was not their case that Mallya had taken out the loans intending that the airline should fail, but his intention was if it did, he would not have to repay them.
He said Mallya's claim is a vindication of the Congress's stand that the government always knew about the fleeing defaulters. But, it was nearly a week by then since Mallya left the country. Today Mallya spoke to reporters outside London's Westminster Magistrates' Court, where his extradition case is being heard. "I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand".
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Marking the conclusion of the trial, Westminster Magistrates' Court Judge Emma Arbuthnot fixed December 10 as the date on which she expects to deliver her verdict. "Do we need anymore proof that this govt.is in the pocket of crony capitalists".
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, too, launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jaitley.
"Vijay Mallya left India with the country's money after a farewell from Arun Jaitley".
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