Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday in a press conference alleged that Congress leader PL Puniya saw Vijay Mallya and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley having a discussion in parliament just two days before Mallya went to UK.
Addressing the media in the same conference, PL Punia said “On 1st March 2016, when I was in Central Hall of Parliament House, I witnessed Arun Jaitley and Vijay Mallya talking discretely. On 3rd March, we heard from media that he fled the country on 2nd March, 2016.”
“I have clearly stated about this in each of my interview with media. There are CCTV cameras, we can all see that for proof. If I’m wrong I’ll resign from politics,” Punia added.
Accusing Arun Jaitley of knowing Mallya’s motive, Rahul said, “The absconder informed Finance Minister about fleeing the country. Why wasn’t this notified to CBI or ED? The notice issued for Vijay Mallya was changed to the inform notice. No one can do this other than CBI. They should clarify if they did this on their own or were orders given to CBI?” Rahul added.
Further attacking Jaitley, Rahul said, “Yesterday, Arun Jaitley said that Vijay Mallya had formally approached him in Parliament, but why did he not mention any of this before, why Jaitley first claimed that he never met Vijay Mallya, but Mr. Mallya met him in the corridor and informed that he was going to London. Why didn’t FM then inform CBI or ED,” Rahul said.
Asking to investigate the matter, Congress President said, “This is a clear-cut case of collusion. There is some deal between them. Arun Jaitley must resign and this should be investigated.”
Liquor baron and former parliamentarian Vijay Mallya, who is accused of fraud and money-laundering told reporters on Wednesday outside a UK court hearing a case on his extradition to India: “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.”
Arun Jaitley, who was the finance minister in 2016 when Mallya left India, clarified his stand, in a post on his official FB account. Jaitley said, “My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallaya on having met me with an offer of settlement. The statement 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. However, since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that “I am making an offer of settlement”. Having been fully briefed about his earlier “bluff offers”, without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him “there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers.” I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand. Besides this one sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member, in order to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me.”