In an unprecedented move, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a statement responding to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s allegation regarding the escape of Vijay Mallya from the country. On Friday, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted that CBI joint director A K Sharma had weakened the lookout notice for Vijay Mallya, which helped in fleeing the country. He also alleged that Sharma is “Blue-eyed-boy” of PM Modi and that this same officer was also in charge of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s escape plans.
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
Referring to media reports on the allegation by Congress President, the agency’s spokesperson said that the allegations are baseless. The statement said, “Some baseless allegations have been made by certain individuals against a senior officer of CBI. As has been stated a number of times earlier, the decision to change the LOC against Vijay Mallya was taken because at the time there were not sufficient grounds for CBI to detain and arrest him”.
The CBI has said that the decision to change the lookout notice was taken at the appropriate level of the agency according to the standard process, and it was not done by any individual officer. It said that the decision to change the notice against Vijay Mallya was taken because at that time there was not sufficient ground for CBI to detail and arrest him.
Regarding Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the agency said that CBI had received the complaint about them from Punjab National Bank 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. It adds that prompt action was taken by CBI in the case immediately after the complaint was received from the bank.
Vijay Mallya fled the country in March 2016 and currently is in London, he is accused in several cases like money laundering, wilful default, criminal conspiracy, contempt of court etc. The Indian government has appealed for his extradition and a London court is hearing the appeal which has reached its final stage.
Nirav Modi is accused of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty including delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering; after he was found involved in a Letters of Undertaking (LoU) fraud in which he had defrauded PNB to the tune of ₹11000 crore.