Vijay Mallya has claimed that he had met with the Finance Minister before he left India.
"I met the Finance Minister before I left", said Vijay Mallya while speaking to journalists outside the Westminster Magistrates' court on Wednesday, during the course of his extradition hearing.
Mallya's statement came during the recess of the hearing, which till that point had witnessed Mallya's counsel presenting their arguments and offering that Kingfisher Airlines was no more than "simple and honest commercial failure" and wouldn't count as criminal in the UK.
The former self-styled 'king of good times' then stepped out of the court to smoke, at which point he was asked questions.
Mallya's initial interaction was about Cricket and the recently concluded India-England test series, but then, he was asked about his views on Mumbai's Arthur Road jail, where he is to be lodged if he is extradited to India. "Very impressive", he said when asked about what he thought of the video of the jail that was provided to the UK judge by the CBI.
When asked about the case, however, Mallya played the victim card and kept repeating that he had made an offer to settle, saying:
"I'm a political football. There's nothing I can do about it. My conscience is clear. I've put almost Rs 15,000 crore in assets on the table before the Karnataka HC. I hope the court will favourably consider my application."
"I am certainly a scapegoat. I feel like a scapegoat."
He was asked about his case in the context of 2019 general elections, to which he cited an opinion that both parties (Congress and BJP) didn't like him, concluding: "I lose both ways".
He was then asked about his final March 2016 departure from India, and whether someone had tipped him off about 'someone going after him', to which he said:
"I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left -- repeated my offer to settle with banks. That's the truth."
He was asked why such an offer would be rejected, and he said: "It might interest you to know that banks have filed objections in court on my settlement applications."
And when asked to elaborate on his statement about meeting with the Finance Minister, Mallya refused to divulge details, saying, "Why should I be telling you?"
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal picked up on Mallya's claim, tweeting: