Rahul demands Jaitley’s resignation over Mallya’s claim

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New Delhi, Sep 12: Hours after fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya said he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday 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.

However, Jaitley rejected the Mallya’s claim as factually false.

“My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallya on having met me with an offer of settlement. The statement is factually false inasmuch as it does not reflect truth,” he said in a Facebook post.

Jaitley rejects Mallya’s claim, says never met him

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday rejected Vijay Mallya’s claim that the fugitive businessman met him before he left India two years ago.

“My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallya on having met me with an offer of settlement. The statement is factually false inasmuch as it does not reflect truth,” he said in a Facebook post shortly after the fugitive businessman made the claim outside a London court where he is facing extradition trial.

Jaitley said he had never given Mallya any appointment to meet him since 2014 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’,” the Minister said.

Jaitley said 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.”

The Minister said 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, he never gave Mallya any appointment to meet him.