New Delhi: The fleeing of Vijay Mallya to London generated storm in Parliament Thursday with Congress alleging "criminal conspiracy" saying the businessman was allowed to escape by the government, which hit back insisting that the loans were given to him during UPA rule and he is "no saint for us".
"There have been clear instructions that every possible action should be pursued" to recover the money from Mallya who owes Rs 9091 crore to a consortium of banks led by SBI as of November 2015, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Lok Sabha.
As Congress alleged that Mallya escaped despite 'Look Out Notice" by the CBI, Jaitley said: "That day, there was no order of any agency to stop him (from leaving the country)". He said Mallya had left the country before the banks moved the Supreme Court for seizure of his passport.
When the issue was raised in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Mallya is "no saint for us" and he has "not been given a single penny" by the NDA Government.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said it was shocking that the UB group chairman, owing some Rs 10,000 crore dues to SBI led consortium of banks, fled to London on March two. He claimed that inspite of warning by the SBI law officer, no action was taken against the businessmen.
Congress, NCP and Left parties staged a walkout alleging that the government's response was not satisfactory and does not answer the points raised by them.
Mounting the attack in Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "My allegation is that this government is party to this criminal conspiracy of allowing him to escape and leave the country. In this criminal conspiracy, this Government should be made party and the Supreme Court should take note of this."
He claimed that "without the participation and without the active support of this government", Mallya could not have left the country and added he should not be allowed to become "the second Lalit Modi".
Countering charges by Azad, Jaitley said the banks have been asked to recover "every penny that is due", adding that the first banking facility was given to Mallya and his firms in September 2004 which were renewed in February 2008.
He further said the accounts were declared non-performing assets (NPA) on April 30, 2009 and these debts were restructured and more facilites extened in December 2010.
"In what circumstances were the loans given is an issue of investigation and the CBI is investigating," he said.
"How these accounts were running, what facilities were given, the dates tell their own story," Jaitley said, adding "when the loans were given, how they were given... introspection will be required."
Raising the matter during Zero Hour, Azad said everyone
knew Mallya "could flee any day" and the investigating agencies should have seized his passport and taken steps to restrict his movement.
Maintaining that Mallya lived a "luxurious life" and had bases in several countries, the Congress leader said Mallya is not a "needle" and moves around with an entourage and expressed surprise how he managed to leave the country despite a CBI "Look Out Notice".
The Finance Minister further said banks and financial institutions are taking steps for recovery of dues and attachment of properties. Jaitley said he has a list of 22 such cases filed in different parts of the country.
Some assets have also been attached, Jaitley said.
On the issue of Lalit Modi raised by Azad, Jaitley said it was during the UPA rule when the former IPL chief had left the country.
Azad had said the present government has failed to bring back Lalit Modi to the country.
"I was giving an example that one had escaped, the second Lalit Modi (Mallya) should not be allowed to escape," the senior Congress leader said, asserting that during his long political carrier, he has never recommended to any bank for advancing loan to any person.
Earlier, Naresh Agrawal (SP) said the matter of Mallya, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, should be referred to Ethics Committee.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said: "I agree with you this is a matter to be taken up with Ethics Committee".
Attacking the government for evading "real issue" in Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh (Cong) said evidence has surfaced this morning that "on February 28 banks met the lawyers and lawyers told the banks to file a petition in the court on Feburary 29 to prevent Mallya from leaving India".
He regretted the banks did not file the case till March 5 and, by then Mallya had fled (on March 2).
"Under the circumstances, the key issue is why were the banks asked to delay approaching the courts to prevent Mallya from leaving India. That is the only issue," he said.
Earlier in Lok Sabha, the Speaker disallowed notices of adjournment motion on the Mallya issue given by Congress and others.