The BJP on Thursday launched a counter-attack on the Congress after liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s claim yesterday that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving for London in 2016 and that he offered to settle bank loans. Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s demand of Jaitley’s resignation, the BJP accused the UPA government of being “bias and flouting norms to give a sweet deal to Kingfisher Airlines.”
Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that Mallya, the fugitive businessman and owner of Kingfisher Airlines, had got the loan after “friend, father and philosopher of black money – P Chidambaram” called up the bank officials. “How much share does the Congress have in the ‘good times’ of Mallya,” he added.
“Rahul Gandhi has gone on backfoot over Kingfisher Airlines. Sometimes it seems the Airlines wasn’t owned by Mallya but by Gandhi family in the proxy. Benefits that Gandhi family got out of Kingfisher Airlines via business class upgradation, free tickets etc is in public domain,” Patra told. Alleging that the then Manmohan Singh-led government took “undue advantage from Mallya,” said Patra, asking the party to “explain (its) ties with Kingfisher.
Patra also produced four bank letters accusing UPA of changing restructuring policies to favour Mallya. “UPA backed the company which looted the police,” he said.
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
A political firestorm had begun on Wednesday evening after Vijay Mallya claimed that he had “met the Finance Minister” before leaving India in 2016 and “repeated my offer to settle with the banks”. Mallya’s claim was immediately dismissed as “factually false” by Jaitley who said the meeting was a “misuse of the privilege of Rajya Sabha member.” Soon after Mallya’s statement, the Congress demanded an independent probe into the allegations and resignation of Jaitley.