Mallya arrest: Centre, Opposition claim credit

Mallya arrest: Centre, Opposition claim credit

The Modi government on Tuesday projected liquor baron Vijay Mallya's arrest in London on India's request for extradition as a major boost to its fight against corruption.

Mallya's arrest is also expected to take some sheen off the Opposition attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being pro-corporate by waiving off Rs 1.14 lakh crore loans taken from public sector banks.

“It (Mallya's arrest) is a big success of the Indian government and the finance ministry,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh told reporters here.

BJP spokesman G V L Narasimha Rao said the Mallya's arrest was a demonstration of the Prime Minister's committement to bring the corrupt to book.

Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad said India had put up a strong case against Mallya.

Modi, during his talks with his British counterpart Theresa May in November last year, had flagged the issue of Mallya's extradition. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley followed it up during this discussions with British leaders during a recent visit to London.

The Congress accused the Modi government of “hood-winking” the country over Mallya's arrest. It claimed that Mallya's arrest was a result of the relentless campaign carried out by Rahul Gandhi against Modi's pro-corporate policies.

“Will it take another dozen years, 15 years, 30 years or our entire lifetime before Mallya is brought back and Rs 9,091 crore of people's money is recovered,” Randeep Surjewala, in-charge of the AICC Communication Department said pointing out that Mallya was released on bail within hours of his arrest.

“We will consider it as a success only when all the money (Mallya owes to banks) is recovered,” Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha said.

Surjewala demanded that the government spell out a timeline for the recovery of Rs 9091 crore that Mallya owed to banks in India.

He noted that arrest was the first of nine steps of extradition with three possible appeals.

“When will we have his custody? Why did the BJP government not move for Mallya's deportation instead of extradition? Deportation would have led to immediate custody to India,” Surjewala said.

The Congress sought answer from the BJP over its support to Mallya in getting elected as Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka in June 2010.

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