New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday rubbished allegations of helping three high-profile economic offenders Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to flee from the country.
The CBI clarified that when the decision to change LOC against Mallya was taken, there were not sufficient grounds to detain or arrest him.
"As has been stated a number of times earlier, decision to change LOC against Vijay Mallya was taken as at the time there was not sufficient grounds for CBI to detain and arrest him. Decision was taken at appropriate level as a part of process and not individually by the officer as alleged," the CBI said.
While Mallya is wanted in India for defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore, absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi too have been charged for their alleged involvement in multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
The CBI, meanwhile, also clarified that they received the complaint against Nirav and Choksi from PNB almost a month after they had left the country, adding that a prompt action was taken against them in the case immediately after the complaint was received from the bank.
"CBI received complaint against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from 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," the investigating agency said.
"Prompt action was taken by CBI in the case immediately after the complaint was received from the bank," it added.
Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said that CBI Joint Director AK Sharma - "the blue eyed boy of the Prime Minister" weakened Mallya's "Look Out" notice and allowed him to escape.
The Gandhi scion had further levelled allegations against Sharma and said that he was also in charge of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi's escape plans.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Gandhi had said, "CBI Jt. Director, A K Sharma, weakened Mallya's "Look Out" notice, allowing Mallya to escape. Mr Sharma, a Gujarat cadre officer, is the Prime Minister's blue-eyed-boy in the CBI. The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi's escape plans. Ooops... investigation!
Attacking the investigating agency, Gandhi, in another tweet, had added, "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."