NEW DELHI: The silent departure of liquor baron and Rajya Sabha member Vijay Mallya from the country echoed in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday with the treasury and opposition benches trading charges on the issue.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley invoked Bofors middlemen Ottavio Quattrocchi to counter Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that the NDA had allowed Mallya to flee the country. Quattrocchi was considered close to the Gandhi family.
With the Congress accusing the government of “criminal conspiracy”, Jaitley took on Gandhi, saying there was a difference between Mallya going abroad and Quattrocchi leaving India.
“I want to explain to him that when Switzerland official informed that Quattrocchi was one of the beneficiaries of Bofors deal, at that time CBI investigation team head K Madhavan had written a letter for impounding his passport. But nobody stopped him. That was a criminal case,” the Finance Minister said.
Besides, he said the loans to Mallya had been sanctioned during the United Progressive Alliance regime, adding, “In what circumstances the loans were given is an issue of investigation and the CBI is investigating.”
Jaitley said, in both Houses, that the banks had been asked to recover “every penny that is due”. The liabilities including interest against Mallya aggregates to `9,091.4 crore as on November 30, 2015.
“How these accounts were running, what facilities were given, the dates tell their own story,” Jaitley said, adding “when the loans were given, how they were given... introspection will be required.”
The Congress vice-president attacked the government saying the entire country was asking why this government was “helping” people like Mallya by allowing him to escape and not fulfilling its promises on bringing back black money.