Arun Jaitley dismisses Vijay Mallya claim on meeting, says it’s ‘factually false’

Vijay Mallya claims he met Finance Minister before leaving India Arun Jaitley rubbishes charge

Vijay Mallya claims he met Finance Minister before leaving India Arun Jaitley rubbishes charge

"The phrase used by Mr. Mallya is that "he met the Finance Minister".

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley has confirmed that he met Vijay Mallya before the tycoon fled the country but added that it was a forced encounter in the corridors of Parliament and not a structured meeting.

The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who is now facing charges of fraud and money laundering to the tune of around Rs 9,000 crore in India, was asked by reporters if he was "tipped off" to leave the country.

Rubbishing Mallya's claim, Arun Jaitley said that the beleagured businessman's remark was factually incorrect.

Hours later, though, Mallya clarified his statement, saying he had not met the finance minister "formally" but had merely run into him in Parliament.

On being asked if he has convinced the Court that he has the means to pay what he said he will, Mallya told media here, "Obviously, that is why a settlement offer has been made".

"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", Jaitley said".

Mallya's statement has dealt a massive blow to the BJP-led NDA government that is now battling multiple challenges, including the depreciation of the rupee and rising fuel prices. Mallya's defence team had demanded an inspection of the jail cell to ensure it meets the UK's human rights obligations related to extradition proceedings.

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"Vijay Mallya left India with the country's money after a farewell from Arun Jaitley. That is why a settlement offer has been made". "Arun Jaitley should step down as Finance Minister while this probe is underway", said Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.

"I did not have any formal meetings scheduled with him".

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also criticised the government over this issue.

Vijay Mallya will appear before a London court on Wednesday for a hearing in his extradition case, during which the judge is expected to review a video of the Mumbai jail cell prepared by the Indian authorities for the embattled liquor tycoon.

"The government should now explain how and why he was allowed to leave and what transpired at those meetings".

"Congress has been repeatedly asserting for the last over 18 months that not only Vijay Mallya but Nirav Modi, Choksi and many others have been allowed with impunity", Singhvi said. I even did not receive any paper from him at that time.

India wants to extradite 62-year-old Indian businessman from Britain to face criminal action relating to loans taken out by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and Indian authorities want to recover about $1.4 billion they say Kingfisher owes.

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