Finance Minister Arun Jaitley denied the claim of fugutive businessman Vijay Mallaya that he met the minister before leaving India two years ago, even as the Congress sought an independent probe into the matter.
”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, Mr Jaitely said.
”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,” the minister added.
However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, ”Given Vijay Mallya’s extremely serious allegations in London, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as FInance Minister while this probe is underway.”
The claim was made by the 62-year-old liquor baron, facing fraud and money laundering charges, while speaking to reporters outside a UK court hearing a case on his extradition to India when he was asked if he was “tipped off” to leave the country. “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.”
Mr Mallya later backtracked, blaming the media for misrepresenting facts and essentially confirming the minister’s version of events. But he repeated that he had told the minister he was flying to London.