Vijay Mallya extradition case: Judge reserves verdict for December 10

Met finance minister before leaving the country Vijay Mallya

Met finance minister before leaving the country Vijay Mallya

Other Opposition parties joined the Congress on Wednesday in questioning the Modi government on Vijay Mallya's revelation that he had met the finance minister before leaving the country, even as there was clear evidence of headline management across television channels that are crucial to the BJP's narrative.

Mallya, who arrived in London in March 2016 and was arrested in April 2017, was present in court as his legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), acting on India's behalf, reiterated and substantiated points made at earlier hearings on loans from IDBI Bank.

"Vijay Mallya left India with the country's money after a farewell from Arun Jaitley". Jaitley also issued a clarification over the matter in his Facebook post.

"I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva". I met the finance minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle the issue with the banks.

At a press conference minutes later, Rahul Gandhi said one of its leaders had witnessed Arun Jaitley and Vijay Mallya having a discussion in parliament just two days before the fugitive tycoon's flight to the UK.

Jaitley, however, said he never gave Mallya an appointment after becoming a minister in 2014, but the liquor baron misused his position as an MP to accost him once in Parliament. When Mallya was asked about Rahul Gandhi's statements that he had been allowed to flee, he said that he was not tipped off by anyone.

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Jaitley was quick to dismiss any official meeting with Mallya, but has confirmed this unofficial encounter at Parliament.

He went on to claim that the BJP had proof that the Gandhi family was helping Vijay Mallya with "sweet" deals.

He later said he never met Arun Jaitley formally.

Asked if he could settle his dues, Mallya, who headed the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and the United Breweries, said: "Obviously. I hope the honourable judges will consider it favourably; everybody gets paid off and I guess that's the primary objective", said Mallya, who is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.

"This is a totally unnecessary controversy created by friends in the media. I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand".

Mallya has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April past year, responded to the swarm of reporters gathered outside the court in his characteristic manner, saying the "courts will decide". Mallya, in a statement, leaves a hint that he would want to move to United Kingdom "to be closer to his family" and is still in dialogues with banks for a One Time Settlement. "We are taking action as per law to protect our interests", said Bhattacharya.

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