Cong chief targets CBI officer, agency dismisses charge
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged that a Gujarat-cadre officer in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had weakened the lookout notice against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya that helped him flee the country in March 2016. The CBI termed the allegation baseless.
Gandhi alleged on Twitter that AK Sharma had played a crucial role in weakening the lookout notice against Mallya and in the escape plans of fugitive diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in January this year.
“CBI Jt Director, AK Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” notice, allowing Mallya to escape,” Gandhi posted on the microblogging site.
“The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi’s escape plans. Ooops...investigation! (sic),” he wrote.
Mallya is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money-laundering amounting to around ₹9,000 crore.
The CBI has strongly refuted the charges made by Gandhi. “As it has been stated a number of times earlier, the decision to change the Look Out Notice against Vijay Mallya was taken because at the time there was not sufficient grounds for CBI to detain and arrest him,” it said.
The agency said the decision to downgrade the lookout notice was taken at the appropriate level as part of a process, and not individually by the officer as alleged.
“CBI received complaint against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi 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 doesn’t arise”, it said.The CBI said it had taken “prompt” action in the case after the complaint was received from Punjab National Bank.
› CBI Jt Director, AK Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” notice, allowing Mallya to escape RAHUL GANDHI, Congress president