Mallya's allegations 'extremely serious,' Jaitley should step down: Rahul

Met finance minister before leaving the country Vijay Mallya

Before leaving I met the finance minister and offered to settle (the issue with the banks), Mallya said, without naming the minister.

The political battle over Vijay Mallya's yesterday's claim of meeting Union Minister Arun Jaitley raged since morning, with the BJP alleging that it was the Congress and the Gandhi family who were close to the fugitive liquor baron.

The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss' defence team, led by Clare Montgomery, opened the day by branding the government of India's evidence presented in the case as "utterly unfounded".

A United Kingdom court on Wednesday fixed December 10 as the date to deliver its verdict on whether beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya can be extradited to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.

Soon after Jaitley's rebuttal, Mallya appeared to tone down the seriousness of his claim, saying it was not a "formal meeting" and he only "happened to meet" the minister, when he told him he was going to London.

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In his Facebook blog, Jaitley that he had never given Mallya any appointment.

In fact Mallya had misused access as an MP to accost him in a corridor in Parliament to claim he had made an offer of settlement for outstanding loans, Jaitley had said.

"He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that "I am making an offer of settlement", the Minister said.

Mallya's statement has dealt a massive blow to the BJP-led NDA government that is now battling multiple challenges, including the depreciation of the rupee and rising fuel prices.

"On March 3, we heard from the media that he (Mr. Mallya) fled the country on March 2".

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Sure there is nowhere back for Vijay Mallya, as he looks increasingly likely to be extradited back to India. "My conscience is clear and (I) put nearly Rs15,000 crore worth of assets on the table of the Karnataka High Court", he said.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mallya's escape reconfirmed how Modi government "enables big defaulters to loot public money and scoot".

It also seeks to prove there are no "bars to extradition" and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines' alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.

"Vijay Mallya left India with the country's money after a farewell from Arun Jaitley". At one point, she told the court that Rakesh Asthana, CBI special director, went to heads of banks with reprisals to file cases against Mallya.

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