Manmohan Singh said all prime ministers and other ministries in any government receives representations from various captains of industr
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday dismissed Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) charges that they had helped Vijay Mallya get bank loans during United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) tenure, even as Congress hit back raising a series of questions asking who let the beleaguered businessmen flee.
Ahead of the budget session, BJP alleged Congress has been pushed against the wall as “corrupt hands" of Singh and Chidambram ensured bank loans to Mallya’s “sinking" Kingfisher Airlines.
The party quoted from purported letters written by businessman Mallya to Singh in which he sought his intervention following which his now defunct company received loans. Both Singh and Chidambaram insisted that letters from captains of industry were routine and were “marked down" to appropriate authorities and no law of the land was violated.
“I think what I have done was done with a full satisfaction of mine that we were not doing anything which was against law of the land," Singh said rubbishing the charges at a press conference jointly addressed by him and Chidambaram at AICC headquarters.
Singh said all prime ministers and other ministries in any government receives representations from various captains of industry. “In normal course... we pass on these to appropriate authorities. It was a normal routine transaction and therefore the letter that is being talked about is nothing but an ordinary piece of letter which any government in my position would have dealt with," he said.
Chidambaram, on his part, said the hundreds of representations received in the government are not dealt by ministers themselves. “No minister can deal with each one of these representations. They are marked down to departments and officers concerned, who will then take appropriate follow-up action," he said, adding that there was “absolutely nothing wrong" if somebody seeks some policy changes or forbearance.
“If letter to PMO is marked down to principal secretary to PM and principal secretary forwards it to department concerned, these are normal," he claimed.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala posed a set of questions on BJP, asking the ruling party as to who was responsible for allowing the escape of Mallya from India despite the fact that a consortium of banks had moved against him for recovery of over Rs9,000 crore.
“Was Vijay Mallya tipped off to run away from India by a high ranking official inside the Modi government?," he asked. Surjewala also asked why did BJP vote for and help him get elected as an MP of Rajya Sabha in June 2010 and if it was true that Vijay Mallya has been working president of Subramaniam Swamy’s Janata Party.
“Why did Modi government permit ‘Diageo plc’ which now owns United Breweries, make payment of $40 million as part of agreement dated 25 Februaray 2016 as also receive this money in an offshore account? What action has Modi government taken against ‘Diageo plc’ and United Breweries?," the Congress leader asked.