Vijay Mallya Clarifies on 'Formal Meeting' With Arun Jaitley, Maintains He Met FM Before Leaving India
Vijay Mallya - Arun Jaitley (Photo Credit: IANS)

London, Sep 12: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday clarified on his meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before he left India. Mallya said there was no formal meeting, adding that he told Jaitley that he was going to leave for London. Mallya also said he is not an absconder and nobody tipped him off.

"I happened to meet Mr Jaitley in Parliament and told him that I am leaving for London... I did not have any formal meetings scheduled with him," Mallya told reporters outside the Westminster Magistrate's Court in London. "I can confirm to you that nobody tipped me off. There was no need to run and the allegations are media created allegations," he added. Vijay Mallya Extradition Case: UK Court to Pronounce Verdict on December 10.

On being asked if he met any Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader before leaving India, Mallya said, "Over a period of time, I have met many colleagues in Parliament and expressed to them my desire to settle with the banks. I don't believe I owe you any further details." Earlier today, Mallya claimed he that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India in 2016.

"I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left... repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," he told reporters outside the court. Jaitley, however, rejected Mallya's claim and said he had never given him any appointment to meet him since 2014 and "the question of his having met me does not arise".

"Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise," Jaitley said in a statement. The minister, however, admitted that Mallya made an offer of settlment while walking with him outside the Parliament. Mallya misused the previlage of being a Rajya Sabha member to spoke with him, Jaitley added.

Jaitley said 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'. I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand." Mallya's statement has triggered a political storm.

The Congress said Mallya's claimed meeting with Jaitley could not have been a "passing, casual, walking meeting" in Parliament. The party also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of allowing Mallya, diamantaire Mehul Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi with "impunity".