Congress wants probe into PMO's role in Mallya escape, sees conspiracy at topmost level

Party cites 3 leads, among them Jaitley's decision against alerting agencies

By Our Special Correspondent in New Delhi
  • Published 19.09.18
  • a few seconds read
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Vijay Mallya

New Delhi: The Congress said on Tuesday that only a comprehensive investigation into the possible role of the Prime Minister's Office, finance ministry, CBI and the State Bank of India management could establish who conspired to facilitate the escape of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said three "vital leads" - a CBI letter diluting the lookout notice on Mallya, the refusal of banks led by the SBI to accept legal advice to move the Supreme Court within 24 hours, and finance minister Arun Jaitley's decision against alerting agencies despite knowing about Mallya's plan to leave the country - made it clear that the conspiracy had been hatched at the top level.

Citing a letter written by the CBI on November 24, 2015, to immigration authorities, Surjewala said: "Harshita Attaluri, SP, wrote the letter withdrawing the lookout notice to detain on the plea that 'the reference to detention of the subject (Mallya) was made under the impression that advance information about the arrival of the subject may not be available with immigration authorities'. This is a strange reason; was the CBI born yesterday that they didn't know how immigration works?"

Surjewala continued: "On March 12, 2016, the CBI says the lookout notice to detain... Mallya was 'an inadvertent error'. On September 13, 2018, the CBI says lookout notice to detain Mallya was 'an error of judgement'."

Surjewala said the CBI came under the department of personnel in the PMO and these officers could not take a decision in such a high-profile case without a nudge from the higher authorities. He also demanded the questioning of then CBI chief Anil Sinha.