In what could possibly be the best possible counter to Congress party and it's president Rahul Gandhi in their attack against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his alleged meeting with absconding fraudster Vijay Mallya on March 1, 2016, the sources in Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have brought out the exact schedule of its senior leader for that day, which indicates Jaitley was at the floor of Rajya Sabha from 11 am to 11:46 am.
Minutes after leaving the upper house of the parliament, the senior BJP leader made way for Vigyan Bhavan, from where he left for a CAG meeting along with the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at noon. After attending a meeting which lasted over an hour, the Finance Minister was busy giving out the post-budget interviews.
The schedule has all but exposed the theory by Congress against Jaitley. Rahul Gandhi had accused the Finance Minister of having a meeting with Mallya two days before the 'King of Good Times' fled to UK in 2016. The Congress supremo brought forward his party leader PL Punia as a proof, claiming he was the witness to that meeting.
On Wednesday, during the recess of his extradition case in UK, Mallya spoke about his meeting with Jaitley days before leaving for UK. He said, "I met the Finance Minister before I left -- repeated my offer to settle with banks. That's the truth."
Though, all such accusations were quashed away Jaitley himself, who stated that, "Since he (Mallya) was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he 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'."
Coming to Jaitley's support were his party leaders Nirmala Sitharaman and Ravi Shankar Prasad. Sitharaman, speaking to PTI on Thursday, termed as "motivated" the Congress's demand of Finance Minister Jaitley's resignation over his meeting with Mallya, saying it is a strategy to deflect attention from the UPA government's "cronyism and favouritism"
Prior to that, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also defended his party man in an exclusive interview with Republic TV, He had said, "Falsehood. Making a false statement has become a habit of Rahul Gandhi, though he is now the President of Congress party due to family reasons. But let me ask a straight question to him -- Why did the bank do a restructuring of the loan of Vijay Mallya in 2010?"
On the topic of Congress leader PL Punia claiming he saw Jaitley speaking with Mallya and and the Finance Minister allegedly not informing the authorities about Mallya's plans to leave the country, the Law minister backed Jaitley and hinted at a conspiracy. "PL Punia has been set up by the Congress party," Prasad added.
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