Congress President Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had helped fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya to escape successfully from the country by changing the “detain” notice to “inform”. He also made allegations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming that it was inconceivable without his approval.
Allegations have flown thick and fast between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Vijay Mallya episode, following the liquor baron's claim on Wednesday that he had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving for the UK.
On Thursday, the CBI had clarified that the change in a 2015 lookout circular against ex-liquor baron Mallya from "detain" to merely informing about his movements was an "error" in judgement because he had been cooperating in the probe and there was no warrant against him.
CBI sources said that when the first LoC was issued on 12 October, 2015, Mallya was already abroad. Upon his return, the agency was asked by the Bureau of Immigration (BoI), if Mallya should be detained as sought in the LoC. The CBI replied that there was no need to arrest or detain him as he was a sitting MP and there was no warrant against him.
Immediately after Arun Jaitley's rebuttal on Wednesday, Vijay Mallya appeared to tone down the seriousness of his comments, saying it was "not fair" to create a controversy over the issue as it was not a "formal meeting" and he had only "happened to meet" the finance minister.