Rahul Gandhi says ‘inconceivable’ that CBI changed Vijay Mallya’s lookout notice without PM Narendra Modi’s approval

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New Delhi | Published: September 14, 2018 5:37:16 PM

Rahul Gandhi was referring to the CBI's lookout circular which was issued to immigration authorities to detain Vijay Mallya in October 2015. However, a month later it was downgraded from 'detain' to merely 'inform'.

Rahul Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi on Vijay Mallya, Rahul Gandhi on CBI, Mallya lookout notice, CBI lookout notice change, Rahul Gandhi on PM Narendra ModiCongress President Rahul Gandhi (IE)

A day after asking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to step down over Vijay Mallya controversy, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday hinted at the involvement of CBI and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in liquor baron’s escape plan. In a tweet, the Congress President said: “(Vijay) Mallya’s Great Escape was aided by the CBI quietly changing the “Detain” notice for him, to “Inform”. The CBI reports directly to the PM. It is inconceivable that the CBI, in such a high profile, controversial case, would change a lookout notice without the approval of the PM.”

Gandhi was referring to the CBI’s lookout circular which was issued to immigration authorities to detain Vijay Mallya in October 2015. However, a month later it was downgraded from ‘detain’ to merely ‘inform’ — a move that had allowed the former Kingfisher Airline Chairman to flee the country despite being under scanner from various investigating agencies for defaulting on Rs 9,000 crore loans.

Ever since Mallya fled the country, the Congress and other opposition parties have been accusing the government of helping him to escape the arrest. However, the Congress sharpened its attack on Wednesday after Vijay Mallya claimed that he had met the Finance Minister before leaving the country without naming any leader. The statement led to a controversy as Arun Jaitley was the FM in 2016 when Mallya had left the country.

Minutes after the statements, Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Finance Minister and said: “Given Vijay Mallya’s extremely serious allegations in London today, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as Finance Minister while this probe is underway.”

He further said: “For 2.5 yrs Mr Jaitley has hidden from the public & the investigation agencies the meeting, he now suddenly remembers, in which Mr Mallya told him he was leaving for London. This is enough to make his continuance as FM untenable & disgraceful.”

Jaitley, however, termed Mallya’s claim as factually incorrect and said that he never gave any appointment to former Kingfisher Airline boss. In a Facebook post, the Finance Minister said: “Since he (Vijay Mallya) was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion, having been fully briefed about his earlier “bluff offers”, I curtly told him “there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers.”

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