A strange revelation has been unveiled on the Vijay Mallya great escape history. On the day Mallya flew to London from Mumbai, the Central Bureau of Investigation chief — Anil Sinha — was dealing with bankers and their questions. Though the immigration authorities did their duty of informing the CBI about Mallya’s escape, Sinha was busy dealing the liquor baron’s angry creditors.
Sinha missed the chance to meet Mallya by just a couple of hours and when informed about the fraudster flee with excess baggage on a flight from Mumbai, Sinha has surrounded the bankers in another part of the city. The information of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attending the meeting has come into the fore. A report published in NDTV states CBI confirmed that the March 3, 2016 meeting of the CBI chief with bankers at a top hotel was planned.
As the bankers came to know that the fraudster left the country with extra baggage, the CBI director had to face the fury of them. All the bankers, attending the meeting, demanded answers for Sinha on Mallya was allowed to leave the country despite an FIR against him since July 2015. However, Sinha stated that CBI never thought that Mallya was a flight risk.
Since the CBI has goofed-up enough and Union Minister Arun Jaitley could not explain properly the details his meeting with Mallya on March 1, the clarification by CBI raises several questions that need to be answered. Considering the fact that CBI’s Lookout Circular against Mallya is under scrutiny, Mallya fleeing the country raises several eyebrows too.
Based on the Supreme Court judgement, CBI cannot impound passports without proper procedure. But after obtaining the passport number, CBI can issue Lookout Circulars to immigration for any person facing investigation. This is done right at the stage of searches or raids on an individual, reports NDTV.
According to the two types of notice that can be issued by the CBI, the first one is for outgoing flights that say the accused should be detained and the agency putting out the notice should be informed. The second one says that those arriving from abroad, their entry should be noted but no detention is needed. However, such notices are modified under special cases.
But with details popping-up each moment, reports suggest that there were many violations made at several levels in Mallya’s case. Starting with CBI’s argument that they had no evidence to modify or change the Lookout Notice from “detain” to simply “inform” looks vague. Second, CBI claims that Mallya was regularly turning up for questioning, i.e. on December 9, 10 and 12, do not support the reason to downgrade the notice as it was done much before the questioning.
Even if leaving aside the CBI’s argument’s for a moment, the role of Intelligence Bureau — which controls the immigration department — comes into question. Rather than stopping Mallya, they pinned the blame on the CBI’s letters and directions, and that’s when the violations came out.
Though the details of dates and reports in several news channels will make the country debate on ‘the great escape’ story of Vijay Mallya, CBI’s damage control is simply not working this time.