New Delhi: BJP and Congress today traded charges over “help” extended to Vijay Mallya in securing loans and fleeing the country, with the two parties hurling accusations at each other for coming to the aid of the beleaguered businessman.
Ahead of the Budget session beginning tomorrow, BJP sought to corner Congress, alleging the “corrupt hands” which helped Mallya secure bank loans belonged to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Singh and Chidambaram rejected the charge, while Congress targeted the Modi government over allowing the liquor baron to flee to foreign shores.
BJP spokesman Sambit Patra quoted from purported letters written by Mallya to Singh seeking his intervention to bail out his struggling Kingfisher Airlines following which it got loans.
Patra asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul to explain at whose behest the defaulting company got loans.
“The hands which pulled the strings to ensure that Mallya received loans are visible now. It belonged to Chidambaram and Singh. Did the hands of 10, Janpath also pull the string? Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should come out in public to say at whose behest the loans were sanctioned to Kingfisher Airline,” he told a press conference.
“It was after one such letter Mallya had written to Singh on November 14, 2011 that the Prime Minister told the media that ‘we have to find ways to get Kingfisher out of trouble’,” Patra claimed.
Trashing the accusation, Singh and Chidambaram told the media that it was a routine thing for captains of industry to write letters to the government which were marked to appropriate authorities and that they did not violate any law.
“I think what I have done was done with full satisfaction of mind that we were not doing anything which was against law of the land,” Singh said, rubbishing the charges at a press conference jointly addressed by him and Chidambaram at Congress headquarters.
Singh said all prime ministers and other ministers received representations from the industry.
“In normal course, we pass on these to appropriate authorities. It was a normal, routine transaction and therefore the letter that is being talked about is nothing but an ordinary piece of letter which any government in my position would have dealt with,” Singh said.
Chidambaram, on his part, said hundreds of such representations received by the government were not dealt with by Ministers themselves.
“No Minister can deal with each one of these representations. They are marked down to departments and officers concerned, who will then take appropriate follow-up action,” he said, adding there was “absolutely nothing wrong” if somebody sought some policy changes or wanted forbearance to be shown.
“If letter to PMO is marked down to Principal Secretary to PM and Principal Secretary fowards it to department concerned, these are normal,” he claimed.