New Delhi: Following Vijay Mallya’s claim that he met Arun Jaitley before absconding to London, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the finance minister of colluding with the fugitive liquor baron and demanded that he (Jaitley) should tender his resignation.
In a press conference today, Gandhi questioned – if Jaitley did have a meeting with Mallya – why did he not inform the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the police. He also questioned why an arrest notice was converted into an inform arrest.
‘Clear-cut case of collusion’
“This is an open and shut case…it is a clear-cut case of collusion. There is some deal between them. The FM must resign and the matter should be investigated,” Gandhi told reporters at the Congress party’s central headquarters.
“An absconder tells the FM he is leaving the country. Why did the FM not inform the CBI, ED or police? Another question is who converted an arrest notice into inform notice?” Gandhi asked.
- Gandhi’s press conference, his second in a fortnight with an earlier one on the Rafale deal, sought to corner both Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi said the party’s senior leader and parliamentarian P L Punia was ‘proof’ that the meeting took place.
- “On 1 March 2016, when I was in Central Hall of Parliament House, I witnessed the finance minister and Vijay Mallya talking. On 3 March, we heard from the media that he fled the country on 2 March, 2016… There is CCTV footage from that day and it should be reviewed,” Punia, who was also present in the media briefing, told reporters.
Jaitley’s defence on Facebook
Jaitley in a post on Facebook on Wednesday evening wrote: “The statement is factually false in as much as it does not reflect truth. Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise. 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.”