Free Press Journal

Parties squabble over Vijay Mallya’s arrest


New Delhi/Mumbai : A beleaguered Vijay Mallya may have walked free on bail within hours of his arrest but the event, which he nonchalantly dismissed as “usual Indian media hype”, had rival parties claiming credit for it and engaging in recrimination.

The government and the ruling BJP quickly claimed credit for the arrest of the flamboyant tycoon, while congress dubbed the exercise as an attempt to “hoodwink” the people of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to say “those who have looted the poor and the middle classes will have to return what they have looted”.

“Indeed. There is no place for corruption in India. Those who looted the poor & middle classes will have to return what they have looted,” he tweeted. He was responding to a tweet by a follower who wrote that “…corruption not only robs us of hard earned money but also of our dignity.”

Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “We are now assessing the facts how we can bring him back into the country and start judicial proceedings against him.”

The government, he said, will leave no stone unturned to bring to justice anyone indulging in financial irregularities.

Mallya’s arrest by the Scotland Yard in London underlines the Modi government’s will to act against people accused of defrauding public resources, the BJP said.

Also Read: London, Vijay Mallya arrested, gets bail

It is a confirmation of the government’s relentless efforts and commitment to act against those involved in illegal activities like generation of black money, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.

Right from the formation of a Special Investigation Team against black money in the first cabinet meeting under Modi to the current initiation of the extradition process against Mallya, the government has acted at every level, he said.

“Investigation agencies have a free hand to act without fear and favour,” he said.

Mallya, whose now defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016, and was arrested at New Delhi’s request for his extradition on fraud charges.

The Congress, however, assailed the Modi government for seeking Mallya’s extradition and not deportation which, it said, would have ensured his immediate custody to India.

“Strange that he is detained and released in the same go…What kind of extradition is this. He is detained for an hour and is honourably granted bail and is defiant.

“Will it take another dozen years, 15 years, 30 years or our entire lifetime before Vijaya Mallya is brought back and Rs 9091 crore of people’s money is recovered. These are questions that BJP and Modiji need to answer instead of hoodwinking people of India,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

He claimed that the action against Mallya came after a relentless campaign by the Congress party, its vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders.

In the middle of all the fuss, Mallya tweeted,”Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.”

“It was a voluntary action. He will be out in a few minutes,” said a member of Mallya’s team at the Westminster Magistrates’ court in London before the former liquor baron was seen walking out leisurely hours later.–PTI