NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took a fresh jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held him responsible for diluting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s look-out notice for fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Taking to his official Twitter account, the Gandhi scion attacked the Prime Minister and said that CBI Joint Director AK Sharma - "the blue-eyed boy of the Prime Minister" helped in diluting the look-out notice. He tweeted, "CBI Jt. Director, A K Sharma, weakened Mallya's "Look Out" notice, allowing Mallya to escape. Mr Sharma, a Gujarat cadre officer, is the Prime Minister's blue-eyed-boy in the CBI. The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi's escape plans. Ooops... investigation!"
Attacking the investigating agency, Gandhi, in another tweet, added, "Mallya's Great Escape was aided by the CBI quietly changing the "Detain" notice for him, to "Inform". The CBI reports directly to the Prime Minister. It is inconceivable that the CBI, in such a high profile, controversial case, would change a lookout notice without the approval of the Prime Minister."
Congress senior spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also questioned as to 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.
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 that 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.