BENGALURU: Downplaying Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) allegations of letters by absconding businessman Vijay Mallya to former prime minister Manmohan Singh over disbursal of loans, the Congress turned the tables on the ruling dispensation asking how did they let Mallya leave the nation in the first place.
Demanding evidence for their claims against Manmohan, Congress leader Rizwan Arshad asserted that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led party has never been able to produce a shred of proof in its allegations.
“Since the last three years that they have been in power, the Modi government has claimed corruption under Manmohan Singh’s regime, but have not brought any credible evidence,” Arshad told ANI.
Stating that Manmohan received several correspondences in his tenure as prime minister, Arshard further said that a lone letter cannot be used against the senior Congress leader adding that the formed enjoyed a certain standard of credibility across the nation.
“We want to ask Prime Minister Modi and his government how they allowed Vijay Mallya to flee from this country. He ran away with police protection. Who allowed his felicitation without your (BJP) government? You have shamelessly allowed him to run away,” the Congress leader said pointing fingers at the ruling dispensation.
Earlier, responding to the charges, Manmohan stated that he has not done anything “against the law of the land."
“All prime ministers and other ministers in any government receive representation from various captains of industry which is passed on to appropriate authority. What I did was with full satisfaction of mine that we were not doing anything against law of the land. It was a normal routine transaction and therefore the letter that’s being talked about is nothing but an ordinary piece of letter,” he said on the sidelines of a conference with senior congress leader P. Chidamabaram.
His response came to the allegations by BJP accusing him of helping Mallya get bank loans for his now-grounded airlines.
BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said that it was under the Congress government that Mallya was first granted a loan despite his company being declared a non-profiting asset.
“The Vijay Mallya case has been a classic case of duping the people of India of their money, of their hard earned money. And we have seen over a period of time there have been certain questions which have been looming large in this case. The question was if an ordinary man goes to take loan then the paper work has to be complete only after a complete paper work and after a lot of grilling, a man is entitled to get a hefty loan,” Patra said.
Patra also alleged that the former prime minister met Mallya and put him in touch with a top bureaucrat to facilitate granting of loans to the airlines.
“The first loan was granted to Vijay Mallya in 2004 and then on February 7, 2008. Despite his cost declared NPA, restructuring of his loan was done in December 21, 2010. Even the Supreme Court had asked as to why the banks continued to lend money if they had managed to recover only one-tenth of what they had lend,” he added.
Mallya had taken the loans to help his airlines Kingfisher. He left the country in March 2016, leaving at least 17 banks waiting to collect a total of Rs 9000 crore from him.
The IT department and the CBI have pinned charges of money laundering on the liquor baron.