Opposition Attacks Modi Over Jaitley-Mallya Meeting, Demands Minister’s Resignation


Vijay Mallya (L) and Arun Jaitley

Caravan News

NEW DELHI – The Opposition is cornering the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the meeting between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya before the latter fled India in March 2016. A lookout notice against Mallya, calling for his detention on sight at airports, was diluted months before he left the country for the UK in the middle of loan fraud investigations against him.

Leading the Opposition’s attack, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “colluding” with fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to help him flee the country and demanded his resignation.

He asked why Jaitley had not informed the investigative agencies about his meeting with Mallya.

“The Finance Minister talks to an absconder (Mallya), and the absconder tells the Finance Minister ‘I am going to London’. Yet the Minister neither tells the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the police. Why?” Gandhi told the media at the party headquarters here on Thursday.

“He was given a free passage to leave the country by Jaitley,” said Gandhi and alleged that the logistics of Mallya going out of the country were discussed at that meeting.

“The Finance Minister has colluded with a criminal planning to run away from the country,” he said.

Jaitley Should Resign, Modi Should Order Probe: Rahul

Hours after Mallya told reporters in London on Wednesday that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country, Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanded Jaitley’s resignation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order an “independent probe” into the matter, he said.

“Given Vijay Mallya’s extremely serious allegations in London, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Jaitley should step down as Finance Minister while this probe is underway,” said Gandhi in Twitter.

The fugitive liquor baron, wanted in India for his alleged role in a multi-crore bank loan fraud case, claimed that he had met the Finance Minister before leaving India in 2016 and made an offer of settlement.

“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 told reporters outside a Westminster court where he is contesting an extradition case filed by Indian authorities.

Jaitley-Mallya Meeting Puts Modi Govt. In Dock: Opposition Leaders

Several Opposition leaders have attacked the Modi government over the meeting between Jaitley and Mallya.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury: “As with the Rafale scam and Choksi scam, this latest revelation by Mallya puts Modi govt in the dock. It is not the finance minister alone, we cannot be sure what other facts are being hidden even now.”

“This only reconfirms how this Modi government enables big defaulters to loot public money and scoot.”

AAP Leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal: “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.”

Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha: “Not only the finance minister, the entire BJP must come clean on its relations with Vijay Mallya.”

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav: “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.”

What Jaitley Said

As the news about his meeting with Mallya set the TV channels and social media on fire Wednesday evening, Jaitley went to Facebook to explain his position.

“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.”

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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