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

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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.