Arun Jaitley rubbished Vijay Mallya’s claim that he had a “meeting” with him before leaving India.
After a Congress leader claimed that fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had a “15-minute sit-down meeting in parliament” a day before the fugitive tycoon’s flight to the UK, BJP sources said the meeting could not have taken place because Mr Jaitley wasn’t in parliament that long on that day in March 2016.
“I was in the central hall of Parliament House. I saw Jaitley and Mallya standing and talking in the corner. After 5-7 minutes, they sat on the bench and started talking. Mallya had come for the first time just to meet Jaitley,” Congress leader PL Puniya had said earlier this week. “It is my challenge. You can look at CCTV footage and see if I am wrong. If I am wrong, I will resign,” he declared.
The BJP has given a detailed sequence of events of Tuesday, March 1, 2016, from Mr Jaitley’s diary.
On that day, Arun Jaitley attended the BJP’s parliamentary party meet from 9:30 am and 10:30 am, sources in the party said. At 10:30 am, Mr Jaitley went to Parliament House and had an informal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the latter’s room, BJP sources said.
After meeting the Prime Minister, Mr Jaitley went directly to the Rajya Sabha where spent 45 minutes – from 11 am to 11:45 am. BJP sources said the Finance Minister left the Rajya Sabha exactly at 11:47 am left for Vigyan Bhavan, just 2 km away, to attend a function.
A video of the March 1 event shows Mr Jaitley beginning his speech at 1:08 pm and ending it at 1:17 pm. Mr Jaitley was speaking at Vigyan Bhawan at an event to mark the 40th Civil Accounts Day.
He was at the venue till around 2 pm, BJP sources said. Mr Jaitley then reached his office in North Block, BJP sources said.
At no point during this time did Mr Jaitley visit the central hall of parliament where the alleged meeting with the liquor baron took place, BJP sources said.
Arun Jaitley rubbished Vijay Mallya’s sensational claim that he had a “meeting” with Mr Jaitley before leaving India in 2016. He said he never gave him an appointment after becoming a minister in 2014 but the fugitive liquor baron misused his position as a parliamentarian to accost him once in parliament.
The Congress and the BJP have been trading charges ever since Vijay Mallya’s claim with Rahul Gandhi accusing PM Modi of a role in Vijay Mallya’s “Great Escape”.