Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya said Wednesday he met the Finance Minister before leaving India.
"It was a totally innocent statement made by me that I told Jaitley that I was going to London", Mallya said at the end of his extradition case hearing at the court, when the judge fixed December 10 as the date for verdict in the case.
Senior Congress leader P.L. Punia said on March 1, 2016, when he was in the Central Hall of Parliament, he had seen Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Mallya talking "discretely".
Three back-to-back statements and clarifications from absconding liquor king and alleged fraudster Vijay Mallya and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley about their unofficial encounter at some place in Parliament (which both agreed that it happened), raises some serious questions. He told, "I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. Why didn't the finance minister then inform CBI or ED?" the Congress president asked at a press conference in Delhi. I met the Finance Minister before I left...repeated my offer to settle with the banks.
He wrote, "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". When Mallya was asked about Rahul Gandhi's statements that he had been allowed to flee, he said that he was not tipped off by anyone.
One can forget about Mallya's talk with Jaitley about the settlement part, this was anyway not acceptable for banks since Mallya was offering much less than what the banks claimed he owed them. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India.
Mallya, an alleged financial offender, is facing charges of bank fraud and money laundering in India, amounting to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Vijay 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. I even did not receive any paper from him at that time.
In London, talking to reporters, Mallya said the media should question the banks why they are not supporting him in his efforts to repay. This provided the opposition some fodder to target Jaitley and the Congress said that the revelations were an embarrassment to the government.
The hearing began with television screens in the courtroom switched on to show a video submitted by India of conditions at Mumbai's Arthur Road jail, where Mallya is to be held if extradited.
The Congress also said on its official Twitter handle that Mallya met Jaitley "several times" before escaping the country to discuss a settlement plan.
Since his arrest in April a year ago, Vijay Mallya, has been on bail on an extradition warrant.