New Delhi: The BJP on Monday hit out at former prime minister Manmohan Singh over emails which showed he helped absconding business tycoon Vijay Mallya get funds for his sinking Kingfisher Airlines in 2011.
This comes two days after CNN-News18 broke the story on how Manmohan Singh may have taken special interest to allegedly help Vijay Mallya's ailing airline.
Holding a press conference on Monday, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said, “Letter shows that Manmohan Singh gave support for loans and it was because of this Vijay Mallya was pleased with him.”
In the series of emails accessed by CNN-News18, Mallya thanked the former PM for sparing the time to talk to him and also acknowledged that former principal secretary in the PMO TKA Nair spoke to the ministries concerned – civil aviation and petroleum – to help the airliner.
“Thank you for sparing time to meet me on September 8th to explain the... difficulties being faced by Kingfisher Airlines. I had also informed your goodself that we had approached our consortium of Banks, led by State Bank of India to grant us additional financial support urgently. You had asked me to follow up with Mr TKA Nair, which I did and I am deeply appreciative of the fact that Mr Nair immediately spoke to the concerned people in the Ministries involved… (sic),” Mallya’s letter to Singh on October 4, 2011 said.
Patra further said citing the emails, “The copy of the letter number 1, written by Vijay Mallya to then PM Manmohan Singh, was sent to advisor of PM TKA Nair and Personal Secretary of PM Pullock Chatterjee. And as we remember through Sanjay Baru's book Pullock Chatterjee use to run with all the files every evening to 10 Janpath even before the PM saw it.”
Reacting to the CNN-News18's report, former principal secretary to PMO, TKA Nair told CNN-News 18, "I don't remember anything. This thing may or may not have happened.I have not seen anything and can't comment on it."
Earlier, a source close to the former PMO responded to CNN-News18 queries saying the government always tries to bail out troubled companies. “No favour was given to Mallya. No funds were given, it was only preferential allotment,” the source said.
Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram whose name also figures in mail trail said he needed to go through the papers before commenting.
Another letter sent by Mallya to his top management showed the business tycoon was expecting an infusion of funds after his requests to the top government.
Speaking to CNN-News18 after the expose, Former Aviation Minister Vaylar Ravi said, "I can't remember what I did but any minister in my position would do what I have done. I am not running away from anything. All the decision were taken in the interest of the industry."
"I did not give any undue favours. I was incharge of the ministry for a very short period of time for me to do anything.And I won't deny that Vijay Mallya knew me very well," Vaylar Ravi added.
Reacting on the CNN-news18 report, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, "If Mallya wrote such a letter to his staff, it must be probed with extreme seriousness.Mallya got everything he wanted from the Congress. He is really a Congressman.
On TKA Nair's role, Swamy said, "This is what Nair was doing all the time. He has been part of several other such unscrupulous activities. I think the CBI, the ED should interrogate Nair thoroughly to find out what his role was."
Mallya, who has been declared by some banks as wilful defaulter, had left the country in March and is currently said to be in the UK.