Terming Mallya’s offer to settle overdue loans of over Rs 9,000 crore to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline as “bluff offers”, the minister said he did not even take the papers Mallya was carrying during that brief encounter.
Jaitley’s comments came in response to Mallya, 62, who is fighting numerous lawsuits in the UK and back home over fraud and money-laundering allegations as well as an extradition to India.
Jaitley said he had not spoken to Mallya in the last 4-5 years. In a Facebook post, Jaitley said Mallya’s statement was “factually false” and “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,” he wrote. But Mallya being a Member of Rajya Sabha, occasionally attended the House. “He misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. 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’,” Jaitley said.
The Finance Minister said he did not even “receive” the papers that he was holding in his hand. “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,” he added.
On the Congress raising questions about who allowed Mallya to flee the country, 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.
The government is seeking the extradition of Mallya after bankers have pursued him for unpaid debt by his carrier that was grounded in 2012.