NEW DELHI: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for not telling the Parliament as to how liquor baron Vijay Mallya managed to flee the country and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to bring back black money stashed in safe havens abroad.
Gandhi said that the Finance Minister spoke at length over this issue in Parliament, but failed to answer the basic question as to how Mallya left the country.
“Before becoming the PM, he (Narendra Modi) said that he would get back black money and deposit Rs. 15 lakh in bank accounts. Not even a rupee was paid. And now Mallya has run away with Rs. 9000 crores. We asked Jaitley ji, how Mallya ji left the nation,” Gandhi told the media here.
“He left the nation, but Jaitley ji did not answer that. He gave a lengthy speech, but the question was how this government allowed him to escape, there was no answer on that,” he added.
The Parliament today witnessed a major uproar following Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s statement that Mallya left the country on March 2 and could be in the UK.
The Congress MPs led by party president Sonia Gandhi staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha soon after Jaitley's address.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said Mallya is not a small instrument like a needle, which cannot be seen from a far distance.
However, Jaitley led a counterattack against the grand old party, saying that it was under the UPA regime when Mallya went abroad and a case was registered under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Mallya on a plea filed by a consortium of 13 PSU banks headed by the State Bank of India. The lenders had moved the apex court to prevent Mallya from leaving the country and impounding his passport even as the loan recovery procedure for Kingfisher Airlines is still on.
The notice will be served through the Indian High Commission in London. Based on CBI inputs, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the banks, informed the Supreme Court that Mallya left India on March 2 and could be in the UK.
The apex court has sought Mallya's response to the banks' plea by March 30, which is the next date of hearing.