Mallya case: BJP hits back at Congress

Mallya case: BJP hits back at Congress

As Congress mounted a fresh offensive against Modi government on Vijay Mallya’s alleged meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before the former escaped abroad, BJP deployed a battery of leaders to pin down the Gandhi family over the episode.

While the BJP went the whole hog countering Congress allegations and rejecting Mallya’s remarks as having “no credibility” as he was under the "glare of law" and a “criminal”, whose words cannot be taken seriously,  known detractor of Jaitley and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had a different take.

“We have now two undeniable facts on the Mallya escape issue: 1. Look Out Notice was diluted on Oct 24, 2015 from 'Block' to 'Report' departure enabling Mallya to depart with 54 checked luggage items. 2. Mallya told FM in Central Hall of Parliament that he was leaving for London," he tweeted.

Congress also made the same charge with Rahul Gandhi saying “the ‘detain notice’ issued for Vijay Mallya was changed to the ‘inform notice’. No one can do this other than CBI. They should clarify if they did this on their own or were orders given to CBI?: 

 BJP ministers and spokespersons, however, reacted sharply to the allegations. Alleging that the liquor baron had allegedly benefitted from bank facilities during the UPA government, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked whether Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Vijay Mallya were "working in tandem".

 “Is the Congress keen to save Vijay Mallya who benefitted from the bank facilities during the UPA government," Prasad tweeted. Prasad also questioned why the UPA II government allowed a second restructuring of Mallya's loan in 2010 contrary to rules. “At whose behest did the RBI direct the SBI to grant this restructuring," he asked.

Party spokesperson Sambit Patra accused the UPA government of having given a "sweet deal" to Kingfisher Airlines to keep it afloat and went on to say “sometimes it seems the Airlines wasn't owned by Mallya but by Gandhi family in proxy.”

Dishing out a bunch of documents purportedly related to the loans given by banks to the airline, Patra alleged that the benefits that Gandhi family got out of Kingfisher Airlines via business class up-gradation, free tickets etc is in public domain.

"The entire Gandhi family was, in fact, helping Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines with the sweet deal," Patra said. "There is a series of letters between the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the SBI (State Bank of India). These letters show us how the previous dispensation under Sonia Gandhi was biased, partial and kept all norms and regulations at bay to give a sweet deal to Kingfisher Airlines," Patra alleged.

Union minister Piyush Goyal, who addressed a second press conference in BJP headquarters also  joined the chorus asking Rahul Gandhi to explain the relations between his family and Mallya.

Alleging that the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines was given loans bypassing all norms, laws and regulations, Goyal dismissed Rahul Gandhi's demand for Jaitley's resignation and  said the Congress president should instead quit all the posts he holds.

The war of words between the ruling BJP and the Congress was triggered after Mallya's statement yesterday that he had met Jaitley before leaving for the UK. Mallya subsequently clarified that he did not have any formal meeting with Jaitely and blamed media for the controversy. That was after Jaitely issued a strong rebuttal against Mallya’s remarks on Wednesday.

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