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Political row over Mallya’s travel abroad

 NEW DELHI, March 10 - A political row erupted today over liquor baron Vijay Mallya leaving India in the middle of a massive loan default probe with Rahul Gandhi accusing the Government of “helping” him, a charge rejected by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who raked up the Bofors case to remind him of Ottavio Quattrocchi’s escape during Congress rule.

 As the controversy surrounding the Mallya’s departure figured both inside and outside Parliament, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha and accused the NDA Government of “criminal conspiracy” in allowing him to fly out of the country. Mallya left on March 2.

When the issue was raised in the Lok Sabha, junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy asserted Mallya is “no saint for us” and that he has “not been given a single penny” by the NDA Government.

Outside Parliament, a combative Rahul asked how the Government allowed Mallya, who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to banks, to leave the country and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley have failed to answer this question in their speeches.

The Congress vice-president attacked the Government, saying the entire country is questioning why it was “helping” people like Mallya by allowing him to escape and not fulfilling its promises made to people for bringing back black money and “giving Rs 15 lakh into every person’s bank account”.

Jaitley while rejecting Gandhi’s charge told reporters that late Quattrocchi, a Bofors case accused, had fled the country under the Congress Government’s watch in 1993. – PTI

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