Jaitley denies meeting Mallya after liquor baron's claims outside London court

Jaitley denies meeting Mallya after liquor baron's claims outside London 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.

Another Congress leader, Anand Sharma, questioned that the government had information on Mallya, but the finance minister didn't mention this in this speech in the Parliament.

FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. "People want to know", Kejriwal said on Twitter. Mallya said he met Jaitley and told him to facilitate a settlement deal with banks and, more importantly, also told the finance minister that he was leaving for London.

In a statement, the minister had said that Mallya did try to start a conversation when he was on his way out of the Rajya Sabha and recalled "curtly" telling him that he should talk to the banks about his outstanding loans.

Jaitley, however, said he never gave Mallya an appointment after becoming a minister in 2014, but the liquor baron misused his position as an MP to accost him once in Parliament. This provided the opposition some fodder to target Jaitley and the Congress said that the revelations were an embarrassment to the government.

Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April past year and is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs9,000 crore.

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Back home, the Congress pounced upon Mallya's comment and demanded that the government explain how the embattled industrialist was allowed to leave India and demanded a thorough inquiry.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mallya's escape reconfirmed how Modi government "enables big defaulters to loot public money and scoot". "I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand". The London court was hearing the closing arguments in the extradition case against Mallya on Wednesday, as well as review the video of jail cell prepared for him by the Indian authorities.

Vijay Mallya arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain, September 12, 2018.

The clarification came hours after Jaitley said that he had not granted any formal appointment to Mallya. There are CCTV cameras, we can all see that for proof.

Attacking Rahul Gandhi at a press meet, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson Sambit Patra, showing a purported confessional statement of a hawala trader, who alleged that the Congress chief had links with a shell company. "Chowkidaar nahin, Bhagidaar hai (Not a watchman, but a partner)", he tweeted in Hindi.

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