New Delhi: In a major embarrassment to the Narendra Modi Government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has admitted that it changed the Look Out Circular (LOC) against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya because 'at that time there was not sufficient ground for the CBI to detain and arrest him'. Similarly, in the matter of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the CBI has admitted that it received the complaint against Nirav and Choksi from Punjab National Bank (PNB) almost a month after they had left the country.
Rubbishing the allegations of Congress president Rahul Gandhi against CBI Joint Director (now Additional Director) A K Sharma of diluting the LOC issued against Mallya, the CBI affirmed that the decision to change the LOC was taken at the appropriate level as part of the process — and not individually by the officer as alleged. In case of Nirav and Choksi, the CBI said, "Since the agency received the complaint almost a month after both had left the country, the question of any CBI officer having any hand in their fleeing the country does not arise."
"Prompt action was taken by the CBI in the case immediately after the complaint was received from the bank," the CBI stated. The Congress chief, in a tweet, alleged that it was A K Sharma, a Gujarat-cadre officer in the CBI, who played a crucial role in weakening the LOC against Mallya. Gandhi also alleged that the same officer played a key role in the escape plans of fugitive diamond traders Nirav and Choksi.
It may be a coincidence that the day Mallya flew out of Mumbai was the day that CBI director Anil Sinha had flown into the city for a bankers' summit.
As per media reports, the two missed each other just by a few hours at the airport and when the immigration authorities informed the CBI about Mallya leaving with his baggage on a flight from Mumbai, the director happened to be somewhere in Mumbai surrounded by bankers.