Rahul accuses Jaitley of colluding with ‘criminal’ Mallya

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference at AICC,in New Delhi on Thursday. (UNI)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference at AICC,in New Delhi on Thursday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, Sept 13: Accusing the government and Arun Jaitley of lying on the issue of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday alleged that the finance minister had “colluded with the criminal” and allowed to him to escape from the country.
The charge came a day after the former Kingfisher Airlines boss said in London that he met Jaitley before leaving India and offered to settle his dues, a charge the finance minister denied as “false”.
Stepping up the attack on Jaitley, the Congress chief said party MP P L Punia saw him sitting with Mallya in the Central Hall of Parliament on March 1, 2016 and held an elaborate 15-20 minute meeting with him.
Punia said he had seen Jaitley and Mallya talking discreetly when he was in the Central Hall of Parliament.
“On March 3, we heard from the media that he (Mallya) fled the country on March 2. I have clearly stated about this in each of my interview with the media. There are CCTV cameras, we can all see that for proof. If I am wrong, I will resign from politics,” Punia said.
Gandhi challenged Jaitley to get CCTV footage of March 1.
“Mr Jaitley is lying, the government is lying on Rafale and the government is lying on Vijay Mallya. A meeting was held with Mr Arun Jaitley and Vijay Mallya. The logistics of Mr Mallya leaving the country were discussed in that meeting,” Gandhi told reporters.
“Mr Vijay Mallya was given free passage out of the country by the finance minister and the finance minister has clearly said the criminal told him that he is going to run away. Well, why did you let him run away? Why did you not stop him because you were colluding with him?” he added.
Describing it as an “open and shut case of collusion”, he said there was some deal between Jaitley and Mallya.
He added that the finance minister should resign and the matter should be investigated.
“The criminal had told him, ‘I am going to run away to London’. The finance minister has accepted publicly that he has been told by a criminal that he is going to run away and the finance minister has not done anything, has not informed the CBI, and has not informed the ED. What does that mean? It means, he is colluding with the criminal. Straightforward,” Gandhi said.
Asked whether the Congress would move a privilege motion, he said the party would do what it could.
However, Jaitley had to first explain why he did not act when told that Mallya was going to “run away to London”, Gandhi said.
He also sought to know what transpired at Jaitley’s “extended meeting” with the the “gentleman in Parliament House”.
Immediately after Jaitley’s sharp rebuttal Wednesday, Mallya appeared to tone down the seriousness of his comments, saying it was “not fair” to create a controversy over this issue as it was not a “formal meeting” and he only “happened to meet” the finance minister.
“Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise,” the finance minister had said in a Facebook post. (PTI)