London, Sep 12: Amid uproar over Vijay Mallya's claim that had met Arun Jaitley before leaving India, the fugitive liquor on Wednesday blamed the media for creating a controversy over his remark and said that he did not have a formal meeting with the Finance Minister.
Mallya had earlier said he had met Jaitley and informed him about leaving India, to which the Finance Minister said that liquor baron's statement was "factually false". Jaitley, however, said that once in Parliament Mallya tried to strike a conversation with him over the settling of debts, to which the Finance Minister said that the former Kingfisher chief should talk to banks.
Mallya in a way corroborated with what Jaitley said, and in an interaction with the media later, he said, "I did not have a formal meeting with Mr Jaitley. There was no need to, we both used to attend Parliament." He then blamed "the friends in the media" for having created a controversy over his "innocuous" remark.
He maintained that he did not flee the country but left as he had a meeting to attend in Geneva. Mallya said he had made several offers to the banks to settle the debts.
When asked what was Jaitley response when he approached him in Parliament, Mallya said, "Nothing."
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in UK last April, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs. 9,000 crores. The court has reserved its verdict and would pronounce it on December 10.
Here is what Jaitley wrote in his Facebook post after Mallya's initial claim:
My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallaya on having met me with an offer of settlement.
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. He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that "I am making an offer of settlement". Having been fully briefed about his earlier "bluff offers", without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him "there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers." I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand. Besides this one sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member, in order to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me.