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

Vikas SV

New Delhi, Sep 12: Amid the uproar over Vijay Mallya's claim that had met Arun Jaitley before leaving India, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order an independent probe into the matter.

"Given Vijay Mallya's extremely serious allegations in London today, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as Finance Minister while this probe is underway," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

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.

[Why didn't Jaitley mention about meeting with Mallya earlier, asks Congress]

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.

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