New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on the Narendra Modi government on Saturday, alleging that it was the Prime Minister’s “blue-eyed boy” in the CBI who had diluted the lookout notice against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, allowing him to flee the country.
Gandhi took to Twitter to allege that Gujarat-cadre officer AK Sharma aided Mallya in his escape, adding that the same Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer had played a crucial role in allowing fugitive diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to flee.
“CBI Jt. Director, A K Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” notice, allowing Mallya to escape. Mr Sharma, a Gujarat cadre officer, is the PM’s blue-eyed-boy in the CBI. The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi’s escape plans. Ooops…investigation! (sic),” he wrote on the microblogging website
The Congress has accused the Prime Minister and finance minister Arun Jaitley of “helping” Mallya flee the country after defaulting on bank loans. The Congress has demanded Jaitley’s resignation over the issue and a probe into how Mallya escaped.
CBI Jt. Director, A K Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” notice, allowing Mallya to escape.
Mr Sharma, a Gujarat cadre officer, is the PM’s blue-eyed-boy in the CBI.
The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi’s escape plans. Ooops…
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 15, 2018
Gandhi’s tweet came days after Mallya claimed that he had met Jaitley before leaving the country in March 2016, though the finance minister has denied the charges against him.
The 62-year-old tycoon, who is on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.
Responding to the allegations, the CBI on Saturday said it had received a complaint against Nirav Modi and Choksi from Punjab National Bank (PNB) almost a month after they had left the country. “Therefore, the question of any CBI officer having any hand in their fleeing the country does not arise. Prompt action was taken by CBI in the case immediately after the complaint was received from the bank,” the agency said.
The CBI also clarified on the Mallya case, saying, “As has been stated a number of times earlier, the decision to change the LOC [look out circular] against Vijay Mallya was taken because at the time there was not sufficient grounds for CBI to detain and arrest him. The decision was taken at the appropriate level as a part of process and not individually by the officer as alleged.”