New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) The Congress on Saturday hit back at the BJP over its claim that it had acted against economic offenders such as Vijay Mallya, saying its government is claiming credit for everything as if those happened after it assumed office in 2014.

In response to a question while speaking at a press conference, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that going by the BJP’s “credit seeking” claims, India would be celebrating its fifth birthday on May 26, 2019.

The party leader also alleged that Vijay Mallya met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and sought his permission before fleeing the country.

“If BJP is taking credit for declaring Mallya a FEO (fugitive economic offender), then let them take credit as they are taking credit for everything from Mangalyaan, Chandrayan, Pokhran one to Pokhran 2 (nuclear tests)…we should be celebrating India’s 5th birthday on May 26, 2019. BJP feels that everything happened after its government came to power in 2014,” he said.

In a press briefing earlier in the day, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had said the law was brought in by the present NDA government to ensure that absconders such as Mallya are brought to justice.

Khera alleged that BJP had taken credit for everything since it took oath in 2014.

A special court in Mumbai Saturday declared absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

“Mallya met a minister, sought his blessings and permission and left for London. I am sure they were getting updates on it. We all know…what happened and how it happened. In fact, a certain BJP minister recently even said that Mallya was not a fugitive and not committed any fraud.

“When Mallya himself said that he left after meeting Arun Jaitley, sought his permission, so what else is there to say,” said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera.

Mallya has become the first businessman to be declared an FEO under the provisions of the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act which came into existence in August last year.

The ED had requested the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that Mallya, who is currently in the UK, be declared a fugitive and his properties be confiscated and brought under the control of the Union government as per the provisions of the new FEO Act.

Special judge MS Azmi declared Mallya an FEO under Section 12 of the Act after hearing extensive arguments from the lawyer of Mallya and the ED counsel.

Mallya, accused of defaulting on loan repayments and money laundering, had left India in March 2016.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.