Mr Jaitley, who was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India, denied the liquor baron's claim.
London/New Delhi: Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya said on Wednesday that he met the finance minister before leaving India, a sensational claim denied by Arun Jaitley as “factually false.”
Immediately after Mr Jaitley's sharp rebuttal, Mr Mallya appeared to tone down the seriousness of his comments, saying it was “not fair” to create a controversy over this issue as it was not a “formal meeting” and he only "happened to meet" the finance minister.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who appeared before the Westminster Magistrates' Court in the case regarding his extradition to India to face the trial on fraud and money laundering charges, was asked by reporters if he was "tipped off" to leave the country.
“I left because 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,” he responded.
Mr Jaitley, who was the Finance Minister in 2016 when Mallya left India, denied the liquor baron's claim. “Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise,” the finance minister said in a Facebook post.