Rahul Gandhi has taken direct aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of a role in fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya's "Great Escape". The Congress president implied in a tweet that the CBI's move to dilute a lookout notice against Mallya was sanctioned by the PM. "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," tweeted Rahul Gandhi. The CBI has admitted to downgrading the lookout notice against Vijay Mallya from detention to report because it didn't believe the tycoon -- being investigated for loan fraud and money laundering – was a flight risk.
Stepping up his attack against the government, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that it was “inconceivable” that the CBI, which reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would have diluted without his approval the lookout notice against fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
“Mallya’s great escape was aided by the CBI quietly changing the “detain” notice for him, to “inform”. The CBI reports directly to the Prime Minister. It is inconceivable that the CBI, in such a high profile, controversial case, would change a lookout notice without the approval of the Prime Minister,” Gandhi tweeted.
His remarks came a day after he accused Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “colluding” with Mallya to help him flee the country and demanded his resignation.
He asked why had Jaitley not informed the investigative agencies about his meeting with the chief of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya, who left India on March 2, 2016, faces charges of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of maintaining a “conspiratorial silence” on Vijay Mallya, the Congress asked why he was not ordering an “independent probe” into the fugitive businessman’s meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Demanding the sacking of Jaitley, the party said that “despite startling revelations about a meeting between Mallya and Jaitley on March 1, 2016, both Modi and Jaitley have maintained a “conspiratorial silence”.
“Is this silence an admission of guilt by Modi and Jaitley?” asked Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
“Skeletons are tumbling out of the Modi government’s cupboard, unravelling a sinister conspiracy and collusion of government agencies, including the CBI, ED, SFIO and banks in permitting Mallya to escape the clutches of law.
“Jaitley and the consortium of banks led by the SBI and CBI/SFIO need to answer important issues,” he added.
The Congress leader said that the consortium of banks had met Supreme Court senior advocate Dushyant Dave on February 28, 2016, for advice on the Mallya case. Dave has gone on record (on Thursday) that he advised the SBI management to move the Supreme Court the next day and get Mallya’s passport confiscated. The SBI management and other banks never returned the next day for action against Mallya or for blocking his escape, said Surjewala.
“Who in the Modi government told the SBI and other banks to not move the Supreme Court on February 29, 2016, to block the escape of Mallya?” he asked.
“Why did the banks wait till March 5, 2016, to move the Supreme Court when Mallya had already escaped on March 2. Does it not prove a sinister conspiracy to help Mallya?”
“Mukul Rohatgi, the then Attorney General and close friend of Jaitley, has also made a startling revelation that Mallya could have been possibly tipped off and, hence, ran away.”
“After this statement, on what basis can any agency refuse to initiate an investigation into the great government-assisted escape of Mallya?” the Congress leader added.
He questioned who was directing the banks not to lodge an FIR against Mallya or not provide the full facts of loan defaults and diversion of funds to investigating agencies.
“If the Prime Minister does not act, it will be proved that the watchman is not only a partner but is also guilty,” Surjewala added. (IANS)