New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Friday reacted sharply to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claim that they had no proof of Vijay Mallya’s fraud. In its regular media briefing, Surjewala said, “On 19 Aug 2014, SBI issued a notice stating Vijay Mallya is a willful defaulter. On Sept 2014, United Bank of India also stated same. By 2015, SFIO & CBI registered complaints against him. So how can CBI now say that they had no proof of his fraud?”
His remarks came a day after the investigation agency had clarified that the change in the Look Out Notice against Vijay Mallya from detaining to merely inform was an “error” since he was cooperating and there was no warrant against him.
Earlier in the day, party chief Rahul Gandhi had said that Central Bureau of Investigation had aided liquor baron Vijay Mallya‘s escape by “quietly changing” the “detain” Look Out Notice (LOC) for him to “inform”. In a tweet on Friday, the Congress president had alleged that the investigation agency changed the LOC with approval from PM Modi. (ALSO READ – Shehzad Poonawalla Accuses Rahul Gandhi of Meeting Nirav Modi, Challenges Him to Undergo Lie Detector Test)
The CBI sources had on Thursday said that the first LOC was issued on October 12 in the year 2015 when Mallya was already abroad. When he returned, the Bureau of Immigration asked the investigation agency if Mallya should be detained for defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore but since he was a sitting MP and there was no warrant against him, there was no need for his detention.
Mallya had on Thursday claimed that he had met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India. Soon after, the Congress President’s accused Arun Jaitley of “colluding” with Mallya to help him flee the country. Demanding his resignation as Finance Minister, he asked why had Jaitley not informed the investigative agencies about his meeting with the chief of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Rejecting demands of Jaitley’s resignation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) instead asked Rahul Gandhi to resign as the party president because of his involvement in the National Herald case. “Rahul Gandhi, who is facing serious criminal charges, should first resign. The people of the country should thank Arun Jaitley, who is working to bring the money back which was looted during the Congress rule,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal had said.
Kingfisher ultimately had to be grounded in October 2012 under a burden of over Rs 9,000 crore of unpaid loans and several other liabilities including defaults on employee salaries and other payments.