Jaitley rubbishes Vijay Mallya's claims of meeting him

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rubbished Vijay Mallya's claim of having met him before fleeing to London in 2016, saying he never gave him an appointment after becoming a minister in 2014 but the fugitive liquor baron misused his position as an MP to accost him once in Parliament.

Terming Mallya's offer to settle overdue loans of over Rs 9,000 crore to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline as 'bluff offers', the minister said he did not even take the papers Mallya was carrying during that brief encounter.

Jaitley's comments came in response to Mallya, 62, who is fighting numerous lawsuits in the UK and back home over fraud and money-laundering allegations as well as an extradition to India, claiming after a court hearing in London that he was 'tipped off' to leave the country.

"I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," he told reporters in London.

He, however, did not say who "tipped him off" to leave the country.

In a Facebook blog, Jaitley said Mallya's statement was "factually false" and "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," he wrote.

But Mallya being a Member of Rajya Sabha, 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'," Jaitley said.

(Agencies)