Mallya-Jaitley meeting in Parliament corridors sparks controversy

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"The government must explain how and why Vijay Mallya was allowed to leave India, " the Congress said shortly after the liquor baron claimed in London that he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country in 2014.

The minister said Mallya's version is "factually false" and "does not reflect the truth".

"I saw him having [a] prolonged meeting in Central Hall of Parliament about two days before he [Mallya] was allowed to escape from India", he said. In fact Mallya had misused access as an MP to accost him in a corridor in Parliament to claim he had made an offer of settlement for outstanding loans, Jaitley had said.

He said that Mallya "misused" that privilege on one occasion, by vaguely saying, "I am making an offer of settlement". I met the Finance Minister before I left...repeated my offer to settle with the banks.

"My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallya on having met me with an offer of settlement".

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

But when reporters asked Mallya about the condition of the jail after the video of his cell was presented to him by the Indian authorities, Mallya labelled it as "pretty impressive".

The Indian government says Kingfisher took out a series of loans from Indian banks, in particular the state-owned IDBI, with the aim of palming off huge losses which Mallya knew the failing airline was going to sustain.

Within minutes of the revelation by Mallya, Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala: "Vijay Mallya met Arun Jaitley, sought his permission and ran away with India's money". The former liquor baron later said he never met Jaitley formally. "Everybody gets paid off and I guess that's the primary objective", he said. "My conscience is clear and (I) put nearly Rs15,000 crore worth of assets on the table of the Karnataka High Court", he said.

Singhvi said the country wants to know what transpired during the meetings between Mallya and Jaitley. I feel like a scapegoat.

He sarcastically described the video of Barrack 12 at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail, which has been prepared for him, as "very impressive".

"I have no comment, you are hearing everything in court", he added on further questions by the reporters.

Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April a year ago, responded to the swarm of reporters gathered outside the court in his characteristic manner, saying the "courts will decide".

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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