Fugitive Tycoon Mallya Met FM Jaitley Before Leaving India; FM Denies Meeting
In what some see as a ploy to cast doubts in an ongoing legal and financial struggle to reel in the former business tycoon, Vijay Mallya, Chairman of the United Breweries Group, said that he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2016. The Finance Minister vehemently denies this meeting. During this meeting, Mallya says that he had met with the Finance Minister and told him that he was ready to settle with the banks. The once prominent face of businesses like Kingfisher Airlines said that he was being made a political scapegoat, and that he is willing to pay up, saying, “I put almost Rs 15,000 crore offer on the table of the Karnataka High Court. I feel like a scapegoat. Both political parties don’t like me.”
On the other hand, Arun Jaitley says that he never met with Mallya, and that it was possible that they may have bumped into each other during the term that Mallya served as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Speaking about Mallya’s comments, the Finance Minister said, “My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallya on having met me with an offer of settlement. The statement is factually false inasmuch as it does not reflect truth.” He made this statement in a Facebook post a little while after he was informed of the business magnate’s comments.
The Finance Minister did, however, indicate that he could have been unwittingly approached by Mallya at the end of one of the sessions of the Rajya Sabha. Speaking about this potential impromptu meeting, the Finance Minister said, “However, since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he 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.'”