Jaitley 'lying', Cong leader saw Mallya 'talking discreetly' to FM: Rahul Gandhi

Vijay Mallya,Mallya extradition hearing,Mallya in Uk court

On the last day of Vijay Mallya's extradition trial at Westminster Magistrate court in London, when it was expected that the court argument would revolve around the state of Arthur Road prison in Mumbai, where the flamboyant industrialist is expected to be lodged if extradited, Mallya turned the narrative by claiming that he had met finance minister Arun Jaitley before he left India.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed Arun Jaitley over Vijay Mallya's alleged claims that he met the Finance Minister with a settlement offer before leaving the country. The government should now explain how and why he was allowed to leave and what transpired at those meetings.

Targetting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Sambit Patra said people who are out on bail should not question innocent people. "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", the Finance Minister said.

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On being asked whether he met any other BJP leader before leaving for London, he said, "Over a period of time, I have met many colleagues in Parliament and expressed to them my desire to settle with the banks".

Jaitley has vehemently denied the charge, saying he never gave Mallya any appointment.

"Yesterday, Arun Jaitley said that Vijay Mallya had formally approached him in Parliament". Hours later, he however backtracked and said that there was no formal meeting.

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In a swipe at the government's "sabka saath, sabka vikas" slogan, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP's sole aim now was bhagode ka saath, lootero ka vikas' (helping absconders and enriching looters). "We need proper disclosures, full inquiries on this", he said.

He said Mallya's claim is a vindication of the Congress's stand that the government always knew about the fleeing defaulters.

Terming Mallya's offer to settle overdue loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as "bluff offers", Jaitley said he did not even take the papers the liquor baron was carrying during that brief encounter. "Both political parties don't like me", he said, while having a cigarette during the lunch break during the hearing for his ongoing extradition case at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

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A man, said to be in his 20s, is in custody and being questioned after presenting himself to police. Police said the man was in custody and assisting police with their inquiries into the case.

The verdict in the extradition case will be announced on December 10. "The notice issued for Vijay Mallya was changed to the inform notice".

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