New Delhi: The Congress party on Friday raised the big question of who nudged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to dilute the Lookout Notice against fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked, "Who nudged the CBI to change the 'Lookout Notice to detain Vijay Mallya' in view of the overwhelming evidence that was stated in FIR and recovered by CBI in the raids dated October 10, 2015? Is it not correct that the 'Lookout Notice to detain Vijay Mallya' dated October 16, 2015, was based upon the material recovered by the CBI in the raids on Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines on October 10, 2015?"
Surjewala also questioned why no action was taken despite two banks issuing notices stating that Mallya was a willful defaulter. "On August 19, 2014, the State Bank of India (SBI) issued a notice stating that Vijay Mallya is a willful defaulter. In September the same year, the United Bank of India also stated the same. By 2015, both the Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the CBI had registered complaints against him. So how can the CBI now say that they had no proof of his fraud?" he asked.
Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted alleging that Mallya's "great escape" was aided by the CBI, who changed the fugitive liquor baron's "detain" notice to "inform".
On Wednesday, Mallya, while speaking to reporters outside Westminster Magistrates' Court, where his extradition case was being heard, claimed that he had met the Finance Minister before he left for London.
However, Jaitley, who served as Finance Minister in 2016, rebuffed the claims and said he never gave Mallya an appointment at his office or residence for a meeting.
The 62-year-old, who is wanted in India for defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore, has been in the UK since March 2016. He was arrested by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April this year.