Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Centre over erstwhile liquor baron Vijay Mallya's claim that he met finance minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India. Surjewala questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the issue and asked why he is "afraid to conduct a fair investigation" in the matter."
"If the prime minister still does not take action, it will be established that the 'chowkidaar' (guard/protector) is not a bhagidaar (participant), but a gunaahgaar (criminal)," the Congress spokesperson.
Surjewala accused Jaitley of not taking action to stop Mallya from leaving the country, saying that he did not alert the CBI, Serious Fraud Investigation Office or the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The Congress spokesperson referred to party MP PL Punia's claim that he saw Jaitley and Mallya engaged in a conversation in the central hall of Parliament before the latter left the country. He said, "This contradicts Jaitley's claim that Mallya caught up with him in a corridor."
Surjewala also said that in March 2016, a debate was held in Parliament on the issue, but Jaitley did not speak about having met the former liquor baron.
The Congress has held a series of press conferences on this matter after Mallya earlier this week made the startling claim about having met Jaitley before leaving India. Surjewala made similar allegations against the Centre in a press conference on Thursday as well.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the CBI had aided Mallya's "great escape" by changing the "detain" notice to "inform", adding that it was "inconceivable" that this was done without Modi's approval.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 14, 2018 18:50:27 IST