New Delhi, September 13: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for demanding Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation over alleged meeting with economic offender Vijay Mallya. The party today defended the finance minister, saying that Mallya was a criminal and he cannot be trusted. At a press conference, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal accused the United Progressive Government (UPA) of pressurising banks to sanction loans to the fugitive businessman. He asked Gandhi to resign, claiming that due to his family’s “relations” with Mallya, the loans were sanctioned
Speaking at a press conference, Goyal said, “Rahul Gandhi should answer what were the relations between his family and Mallya.” He further added that the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines was given loans bypassing all norms, laws and regulations. The railway minister also said that Mallya was a criminal and could not be taken seriously.
Earlier in the day, the Congress president held a press conference and demanded Jaitley's resignation over the controversy stoked by Mallya. He accused the finance minister of colluding in a criminal running away from the country. Gandhi said, “Vijay Mallya said yesterday that he met Arun Jaitley ji in the Parliament before leaving. Arun Jaitley writes blogs on all meetings, but I don't know why there was no blog by him on this meeting. He said that he spoke only a few words to him Mallya, which is a lie.”
The Congress president also blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for helping the liquor baron to escape the country. Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also accused the finance minister of assisting the liquor baron in evading the law. Surjewala also took a dig at the Modi government over the Rafale Deal.
The fugitive liquor baron had on Wednesday claimed in London that he had met Jaitley before fleeing to the UK. Refuting Mallya’s claim, Jaitley had said he had never given him an appointment since 2014, but he used his privilege as a Member of Parliament to accost him once in Parliament.