The claim made by Mallya, facing charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs 9,000 crore, has triggered a political storm, with the Congress saying the government must explain how and why Mallya was allowed to leave India.
Shortly later, Jaitley hit back and rejected Mallya's claim that the fugitive businessman met him before he left India two years ago. "I met him in Parliament and told him I am going to London", claimed Mallya. I met the finance minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks. "That is the truth", he responded. Why, the Congress president asked, didn't the finance minister inform the Central Bureau of Investigation or the Enforcement Directorate?
Rahul Gandhi further claimed that his party leader P L Punia saw Jaitley and Mallya "talking discreetly" in the Central Hall of parliament on March 1, 2016. So, obviously the comments are referring his meeting with Arun Jaitley. I do remember on one occasion he misused his privileges as member of Rajya Sabha and while I was walking out of Rajya Sabha to my room, he paced up towards me in Parliament building and suggested that he was going to make some offer of settlement.
He later said he never met Arun Jaitley formally. "Both political parties don't like me", he said, while having a cigarette during the lunch break during the hearing for his ongoing extradition case at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. "The allegations are media created allegations, unfortunately".
Terming Mallya's offer to settle overdue loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as "bluff offers", Jaitley said he did not even take the papers the liquor baron was carrying during that brief encounter.
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The Congress also said on its official Twitter handle that Mallya met Jaitley "several times" before escaping the country to discuss a settlement plan. "My conscience is clear and (I) put nearly Rs15,000 crore worth of assets on the table of the Karnataka High Court", he said. "I don't believe I owe you any further details".
"I am a scapegoat". Mark Summers, representing India, said that there was a clear case against Mallya and that what Kingfisher "internally knew was radically different" to what was being told to banks regarding the company's status.
SBI along with other lenders also approached the Karnataka High Court appealing for Mallya's arrest and impoundment of his passport.
During the hearing, Mallya's defence team branded the evidence presented by the Indian government in the case as "utterly unfounded".
The bench of Emma Arbuthnot is likely to take a final call on handing over Mallya to Indian authorities after reviewing the video on Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.