- Arun Jaitley said he never met Vijay Mallya before he left the country
- He said the 62-year-old businessman's claim "does not reflect truth"
- He also accused Vijay Mallya of "misusing" his privilege as a lawmaker
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said he never met Vijay Mallya before the fugitive tycoon left the country after defaulting on loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore. Outside a London court that was hearing arguments over his extradition to India, Mr Mallya told reporters that he met the finance minister and "repeated my offer to settle with the banks".
In a strongly worded Facebook post minutes after Mr Mallya spoke with reporters, Arun Jaitley said the 62-year-old businessman's claim was "factually false in as much as it does not reflect truth".
"Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise," Arun Jaitley said.
According to the finance minister, Mr Mallya did walk up to him on one occasion while going out of parliament. "...since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege..." Arun Jaitley wrote.
"He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that 'I am making an offer of settlement'. 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,'" Arun Jaitley 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, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me," the finance minister said.
The ruling on whether Mr Mallya can be extradited from Britain to India to face fraud charges will be given on December 10, England's Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said.
India wants to extradite the businessman from Britain to face criminal action relating to loans taken out by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
On the Congress raising questions about who allowed Mr Mallya to leave India, Mr Jaitley said the party has always indulged in politics of falsehood. "The Congress is neck deep in corruption and it has history of corruption," he said. "People like us who are in politics for decades and part of clean politics, cannot comprehend the kind of politics Congress is doing," he said.
Soon after Mr Mallya's claim, the Congress attacked Arun Jaitley.
Given Vijay Mallya's extremely serious allegations in London today, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as FInance Minister while this probe is underway.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 12, 2018
"Vijay Mallya has run away after looting money from banks. The government had this information. So when finance minister gave statements in parliament on the Vijay Mallya issue, he should have mentioned about this meeting with Mallya. Only the finance minister can tell why he didn't tell about it?" Congress parliamentarian Anand Sharma said.