The BJP on Thursday defended Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as Congress, president, Rahul Gandhi sought his resignation over his alleged meeting with Vijay Mallya, saying the fugitive businessman was a criminal and his words could not be taken seriously.

At a press conference, Union minister Piyush Goyal asked Gandhi to resign, claiming that due to his family’s “relations” with Mallya, banks were pressured by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to sanction loans to the fugitive businessman, violating all norms.

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“Rahul Gandhi should answer what were the relations between his family and Mallya,” Goyal said, adding that the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines was given loans bypassing all norms, laws and regulations.

Gandhi should resign from all the posts he held, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.

Mallya, he asserted, had no credibility as he was under the “glare of law” and was a criminal. He could not be taken seriously, Goyal said.

Read: Opposition questions govt on Mallya’s claim of meeting FM

The fugitive liquor baron had yesterday claimed in London that he had met Jaitley before fleeing to the UK.

Refuting Mallya’s claim, Jaitley had said he had never given him an appointment since 2014, but he used his privilege as a Member of Parliament to accost him once in Parliament.