London: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday claimed he had met Union Finance Minister and senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley before leaving India with more than 9,000 crore rupees money laundering and fraud cases pending against his name.
Vijay Mallya's shocking claim however has been refuted by Arun Jaitley, though he admitted meeting him.
"I met the Finance Minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks", Vijay Mallya said outside London's Westminster Magistrates' Court, according to news agency ANI.
"I left India because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. Before leaving I met the finance minister and offered to settle (the issue with the banks)", Mallya said, without naming the minister.
Arun Jaitley was Union Finance Minister in 2016 when Vijay Mallya fled from India. Responding to the charges, Arun Jaitley said the Mallya’s 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", Jaitley wrote on his Facebook page.
"He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that ”I am making an offer of settlement,” he added.
"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 RS Member to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me", Jaitley wrote in one of the messages posted on Twitter.
On the other hand, some opposition leaders were quick to react to Mallya’s claim demanding a response from the Central government. Former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav tweeted, "Entire Modi government is hand in glove with scamsters & absconders. They hatched a plot to loot hundreds of thousands of Crores. PM & FM must respond on this."
Responding to the Mallya's claim, AAP Founder and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "PM Modi meets Neerav Modi before he flees the country. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know."
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