Industrialist Vijay Mallya has sensationally revealed that he had left India with the knowledge of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Speaking outside the court in London on Wednesday, Mallya said, “I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the finance minister before I left. I repeated my offers to settle matters before I left. The banks had filed objections to my settlement letters.”
— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2018
The revelation will cause considerable embarrassment to the Centre’s Narendra Modi government, which says it’s been trying to bring him back to India through extradition.
Reacting to the development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Jaitley to clarify his stand. He wrote, “Why did the Finance Minister hide this information till now?” His subsequent tweet read, “Absolutely shocking.”
Kejriwal’s another tweet read, “PM Modi meets Neerav Modi before he flees the country. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know.”
PM Modi meets Neerav Modi before he flees the country. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 12, 2018
Equally shocking has been the desperate defence for Jaitley by two TV channels, Times Now and Republic TV, with both outlets attacking Mallya and his timing for the revelation. The anchor on Times Now said, “Surely you have to agree that the timing of Mallya’s revelation is suspect.”
A tweet by Times Now defended Jaitley even before the latter or the central government could officially react to Mallya’s astonishing revelations. It read, “Is the claim an afterthought to muddy political waters and intimidate the government?”
Times Now on Twitter also questioned the opposition for Mallya’s bombshell. It asked “Is the opposition legitimising Mallya as an absconder by giving oxygen to his unsubstantiated claims ?”
Republic TV, founded by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, too called it Mallya’s list of excuses before quickly moving on to ‘more pressing stories.’
The channels even launched a hashtag, not targeting the BJP or the central government, but the opposition Congress. Using the hashtag #CongMallyaSecret, the channel asked, “Secret papers revealing Congress’ sweet deal to save Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines out. All details here.”
Republic TV has often faced public ridicule for constantly targeting the opposition while refusing to question the poor governance or the instances of alleged corruption by the central government.