Mallya takes U-turn, denies formal meeting with Arun Jaitley before fleeing India..Jaitley says Mallya had come to his room..Cong says Chowkidar is now Bhagidar..Kejriwal mocks Modi

New Delhi/London, Sep 12: Fugitive business tycoon Vijay Mallya, wanted in India for his alleged role in a multi-crore bank loan fraud case, claimed on Wednesday that he met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India in 2016. However Jaitley denied any such meeting, saying that Mallya had used his privilege as a Rajya Sabha member to his room where Mallya had uttered the word "settlement" to which I (Jaitley) had directed him to talk to his bankers."My attention has been drawn to a statement made to the media by Vijay Mallaya on having met me with an offer of settlement.The statement is factually false in as much as it does not reflect truth. Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise. However, since he 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”. Having been fully briefed about his earlier “bluff offers”, without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him “there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers.” I did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand. Besides this one sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member, in order to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me," Jaitley said in his Facebook post.

"I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left... repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," Mallya told reporters outside a Westminster Magistrate court where he is fighting an extradition case filed by Indian authorities.

Mallya, who left India on March 2, 2016, also claimed that he was disliked by both the major parties in India -- the BJP and Congress."I am a political football... As far as I am concerned, I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. I hope the honourable judges will consider it favourably."Asked if he could settle his dues, Mallya, who headed the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and the United Breweries, said: "Obviously. That is why a settlement offer has been made."Mallya, who faces charges of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore, said he did not file any clemency plea in the Karnataka High Court where he was ready to settle all dues."I put almost Rs 15,000 crore offer on the table of the Karnataka High Court. I feel like a scapegoat. Both political parties don't like me," he said, adding that the banks had rejected his settlement offers.

However, Mallya retracted later. "I happened to meet Mr Jaitley in Parliament & told him that I am leaving for London... I did not have any formal meetings scheduled with him," said the absconder. 

Reacting to Mallya's earlier statement, Congress launched a scathing attack on PM Modi saying that "chowkidar has become a bhaagidar"

Kejriwal too mocked Mpdi government saying the nation wants to know what transpired at the meeting.

News24 Bureau/ IANS