Politics

CBI to probe Congress and the then Finance Ministry’s role in disbursement of loans to Vijay Mallya

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a fresh investigation on the alleged involvement of finance ministry officials in the disbursal of loans from public sector banks to Kingfisher Airlines during the UPA regime.

According to The Economic Times, the CBI has officially approached the finance ministry and formally obtained the documents it needs to build its case. As per sources, these files are currently being scrutinised for further interrogation of officials.

The primary source to CBI’s probe is the correspondence and email exchanges recovered during the search of Kingfisher Airlines owner Vijay Mallya’s residence. The CBI had seized over a lakh internal email exchanged between 2008 and 2013, including communications with the Prime Minister’s Office, finance ministry, civil aviation ministry and petroleum ministry among others. In one such exchange, Mallya had reportedly claimed that the disbursement of loans was made possible by the intervention of UPA ministers.

The agency is especially investigating the role of the then joint secretary (banking) Amitabh Verma. Among the several references to Verma, the one which was most important is Mallya’s email to Ravi Nedungadi, former CFO of UB, on March 26, 2009, regarding a disbursement of Rs 500 crore from State Bank of India.

Vijay Mallya’s case has lately become more of a political face-off, with BJP and Congress involving themselves in a war of words with allegations and counter-allegations being hurled at each other.

The BJP, which has been under blistering attack from the Congress over an alleged meeting between Mallya and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has put out a video clipping from a news broadcast on 12th November 2011 in which then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is seen saying he would find ways to get Kingfisher Airlines out of the trouble.

Amongst all the hubbub, the Republic TV, in its exclusive expose yesterday, presented secret papers accessed by them which exposes Congress Government’s sweet deal with Mallya. The papers show correspondences, dated August 2010, between SBI and RBI, which expose on how Congress authored a separate exclusive deal only for Kingfisher Airlines

Letters exchanged between RBI and SBI reveal that an exemption was requested regarding debt restructuring in the entire aviation industry primarily based on the financial difficulties being faced by Kingfisher Airlines.

Adding to the extraordinary political controversy that has broken out over the last 24 hours, The Republic reported a sensational ‘Meeting of the fugitives’ that took place at Vijay Mallya’s London mansion three weeks ago. The meeting was attended by Lalit Modi, and also, two former UPA ministers, one of whom is a former Chief Minister.

The entire controversy broke out when Mallya, during the recess in his extradition hearing on Wednesday, made an almost offhand remark to journalists that he had met the Finance Minister before leaving India and telling him that he has made a settlement offer. The Congress grabbed this opportunity to fulminate against the BJP Government.

However, mere hours later, once the hearing in London had ended, Vijay Mallya came out and corroborated Jaitley’s version where he had stated that- he had not offered Mallya a meeting since the BJP came to power and that Mallya, then a Rajya Sabha member, had once pulled up alongside him while Jaitley was making his way to his room in Parliament and told him that he had made a settlement offer, to which Jaitley said ‘talk to the banks’.

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