Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday demanded that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley resign after liquor baron Vijay Mallya claimed he met the finance minister before leaving the country in 2016. Gandhi also tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order an independent investigation into the matter.

The Congress asked the government to explain how and why liquor baron Vijay Mallya was allowed to leave the country, PTI reported. Congresss spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi demanded to know what had transpired at the alleged meeting between Mallya and Jaitley. “Congress has been repeatedly asserting for over 18 months that not only Vijay Mallya but Nirav Modi, Choksi and many others have been allowed to leave with impunity,” ANI quoted him as saying.

Arun Jaitley denied Mallya’s claim and said the businessman, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha, had walked up to him as he was leaving the Upper House and had mentioned an offer to reach a settlement with banks whom we owed money.

However, Singhvi claimed that Mallya’s remarks do not suggest a casual meeting in the Rajya Sabha. “I think more categorical and detailed response must be had,” Singhvi said. “Question remains how could he [Mallya] have left [the country] after everyone knew of his debts and non-performing assets.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described Mallya’s comments as “absolutely shocking”. “PM Modi meets Nirav Modi before he flees the country,” the Aam Aadmi Party chief said on Twitter. “FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know.”

Kejriwal asked who had instructed the agency to change the status of Mallya’s lookout notice from “detain” to “inform”.

“They [government] have to own up to the fact that they allowed this loot to happen and the fact that they are allowing this loot to happen, more are looting,” ANI quoted Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury as saying.

Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said not only the government but the entire Bharatiya Janata Party must come clean on its relations with Vijay Mallya.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav accused the government of being hands in glove with “scamsters and absconders” and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley must respond to these allegations.