Opposition parties slam government on Mallya-Jaitley meeting, demand probe

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 12, 2018, 08.54 PM (IST)

The Opposition took a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP after Mallya claimed that he met with the Finance Minister before leaving the country.

Accusing the BJP of crony capitalists, the Congress tweeted, "Vijay Mallya met FM @arunjaitley several times before escaping the country to discuss a settlement plan, inspite of this the BJP govt. allowed him to flee with thousands of crores debt. Do we need anymore proof that this govt. is in the pocket of crony capitalists".

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Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also attacked the party saying, "Not only the finance minister, the entire BJP must come clean on its relations with Vijay Mallya".

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Reacting to Mallya's claims, Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanded and immediate probe in the matter and asked Arun Jaitley to resign from his post.

Gandhi tweeted, "Given Vijay Mallya’s extremely serious allegations in London today, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as FInance Minister while this probe is underway".

Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal also questioned the Finance Minister why he hid the information till now.

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Kejriwal further tweeted, "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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Sitaram Yechury targetted the government saying, "It's a fact that all of us had known earlier. Whatever denials government may issue, it confirms that all those who looted public money by taking loans from banks and absconded, not one of them happened to leave the country without knowledge of the government. They (government) have to own up to the fact that they allowed this loot to happen and the fact that they are allowing this loot to happen, more are looting".

Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "Vijay Mallya has run away after looting money from banks. Government had this information. So,when Finance Minister gave statements in Parliament on Vijay Mallya issue,he should have mentioned about this meeting with Mallya. Only Finance Minister can tell why he didn't tell about it?

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Salman Khurshid said, "He(Mallya) was an MP and in his becoming a MP,Jaitley's party had a role to play.The fact is if such an offer was made,Finance Minister should have told him (Mallya) lets us fix how you'll take this forward.Fact remains a person who owes it to the country isn't available in the country". 

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Mallya, the 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who arrived in London to appear before the Westminster Magistrates' Court in a case regarding his extradition to India to face the trial on fraud and money laundering charges, was asked by reporters 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," he responded, without naming the minister.

Arun Jaitley was the finance minister in 2016 when Mallya left India.

(With inputs from agencies)