oppn parties Mallya-Jaitley: Political Capital Out of Sidling Up

News Snippets

  • The Army conducts an operational alert exercise in eastern Ladakh
  • The IAF reopened the Vijaynagar advance landing ground, an airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
  • Amit Shah says he never sought to impose Hindi
  • Government bans the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in India
  • Mamata Banerjee seeks an appointment with Home Minister Amit Shah today
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi in what she later described as a government-to-government meeting
  • Supreme Court sets a deadline of October 18 for completing the hearings in the Ayodhya case
  • Pakistan rejects India's request for use of its airspace when PM Modi flies to the US later this week
  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Mallya-Jaitley: Political Capital Out of Sidling Up

By Linus Garg

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
The Arun Jaitley-Vijay Mallya meeting issue has been blown out of proportion by a section of the press. If the fugitive entrepreneur was a member of parliament, he had access to the same pathways, halls and corridors which the finance minister had. If he catches up with the minister in one of these corridors and whispers something to him, does it qualify as a meeting? Obviously, it depends on what meaning one assigns to the word meeting. The dictionary says meeting means either “an assembly of people for a particular purpose, especially for formal discussion” or “a situation when two or more people meet, by chance or arrangement.

In this case, what Vijay Mallya first said in London, he obviously tried to portray the first meaning – that he had met the finance minister for a formal discussion, which obviously was not the case. Mallya himself admitted as much. In any case, whose word would you believe – that of a fugitive and absconder or a government minister? Jaitley has confirmed that Mallya had sidled up to him in the corridors of parliament one day and said that he wanted to make an offer of settlement. Jaitley said he asked him to talk to his bankers.

But since Jaitley is a public figure, a minister and a lawyer to boot, he made a mistake by not making the chance meeting public. He should have issued a statement at that time saying that Mallya had tried to make such an offer. He should have realized that a person like Mallya would try to make political capital out of the chance meeting. But that mistake does not make Jaitley a colluder or helper. The biggest mistake the government made was in not getting a court order impounding Mallya’s passport (as also that of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and other high profile borrowers who are suspect) when it was known that he was in financial difficulty and might flee the country any day. The mistake is being compounded by not finding a way to bring him, and the others, to face trial in India.