The political battle over Vijay Mallya's yesterday's claim of meeting Union Minister Arun Jaitley raged since morning, with the BJP alleging that it was the Congress and the Gandhi family who were close to the fugitive liquor baron.
"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.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who appeared before the Westminster magistrates' court in the case regarding his extradition to India to face the trial on fraud and money laundering charges, was asked by reporters if he was "tipped off" to leave the country.
"I did not even receive the papers he was holding in his hand", Jaitley said.
"On 1 March 2016, when I was in Central Hall of Parliament House, I witnessed the finance minister and Vijay Mallya talking".
As part of the closing submissions, Mallya's defence team effectively undertook a recap of the entire defence case, also repeating its claim that the case brought against the businessman was politically motivated. Although Jaitley was quick to release a statement saying the meeting with Mallya was unscheduled and he advised him to meet the banks, the sensational claim raises a larger question that if a senior cabinet minister knew that Mallya was going to fly away to London, could the government have done more to keep him in the country? "There was no need to run and the allegations are media created allegations", he said. "Why did Jaitley allow Mallya to escape, or was it an order from the prime minister?" he asked. So, obviously the comments are referring his meeting with Arun Jaitley. "That is the truth", he told reporters outside a Westminster Magistrate court where he is fighting an extradition case filed by Indian authorities.
Sources in the CBI said that when Mallya returned to India on 24 November, the Bureau of Immigration had asked the agency if it should detain him. As far as I am concerned, I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. "My conscience is clear and (I) put nearly Rs 15,000 crore worth of assets on the table of the Karnataka High Court", he said.
Jaitley, in his long post, said that since 'he (Vijay Mallya) was a Rajya Sabha member and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking walking out the house to go my room'.
"I am a scapegoat".
Vijay Mallya, 62, who is fighting India's request to the United Kingdom to send him back, is wanted in India for defaulting on loans worth crores and money. "These letters show us how the previous dispensation under Sonia Gandhi was biased, partial and kept all norms and regulations at bay to give a sweet deal to Kingfisher Airlines", Patra alleged.