Rahul Gandhi Questions PM Narendra Modi Over Change in CBI LOC Against Vijay Mallya
Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Photo Credit: IANS)

New Delhi, Sep 14: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Vijay Mallya and said the Central Bureau of Investigation, under the PM, facilitated the liquor baron's departure from the country. Rahul Gandhi alleged the CBI let Vijay Mallya escape by changing Look Out Circular (LOC) with approval from PM Modi.

"Mallya’s Great Escape was aided by the CBI quietly changing the “Detain” notice for him, to “Inform”. The CBI reports directly to the PM. It is inconceivable that the CBI, in such a high profile, controversial case, would change a lookout notice without the approval of the PM," the Congress leader tweeted. The LOC was downgraded from “detain” at immigration to merely “inform”. Vijay Mallya Extradition Case: UK Court to Pronounce Verdict on December 10.

After the Congress and senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleged that the vigil against Mallya was lowered on a purpose, the CBI, as reported by Indian Express, said the LOC was downgraded because of lack of enough evidence at the time. The agency sent an LOC request to immigration authorities, asking them to detain Mallya on October 16, 2015.

However, a month later when Mallya was about to leave for the United Kingdom, the CBI asked immigration to downgrade the LoC from “detain” to “inform” on arrival. The Congress has been asking how it is possible that the significant change in LOC was made without approval from higher authorities in the Modi government.

On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi demanded Finance Minister Arun Jaitely's resignation after accusing him of colluding with Mallya "and giving him a free passage" to flee the country. Addressing the media, Gandhi asked why Jaitley did not inform the investigating agencies about Mallya's plans to leave India. This came after Mallya said that he met the Jaitley before leaving India.

"I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left... repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth," Mallya told reporters outside a local court in London. Jaitley, however, rubbished Mallya's statement, saying he never gave him an appointment since 2014 but the liquor baron misused his position as Rajya Sabha MP to accost him in Parliament.

"Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise," Jaitley said in a statement. After Jaitley's rebuttal, Mallya clarified that there was no formal meeting with the finance minister. The accused in a multi-crore bank loan fraud case, however,  maintained that he told Jaitley that he was going to leave for London.