CBI’s Look-Out Notice Sought to Detain Mallya, but Was Changed
CBI says Mallya was cooperating with the investigation and hence, a look-out circular was issued to intimate him.
Did the CBI leave the door open for industrialist Vijay Mallya to leave India? It just may have. The CBI on Thursday clarified that the look-out circular issued by it last year to other agencies was to detain Mallya, initially, but was changed just to intimate him on news or developments regarding Mallya and not to detain him.
Due to this loophole, Mallya managed to leave the country on 2 March without any trouble. The Bureau of Immigration duly informed the CBI about his departure to a foreign country.
So far, Mallya has been questioned thrice by the agency. The CBI has maintained that he had been cooperative and made himself available whenever called for questioning.
Then why did the agency issue a look-out circular only for intimation and not for detention? The CBI gave no clear answer to this question.
We have issued this look-out circular just to keep track of Mallya’s whereabouts.Senior Officer, CBI
According to the agency, the look-out circular is applicable only for Indian airports. As per a Supreme Court ruling, the investigator can impound the accused person’s passport only if the chargesheet has been filed in the case.
What Is a Look-Out Circular?
Look-out circulars are issued by the investigating agency to track absconding criminals and to prevent and monitor the entry or exit of persons/suspects who may be required in a criminal case.
In the look-out circular, there is a section which says ‘Action expected from Immigration check point’. This section carries four options:
- Inform originator of arrival/departure of subject. (But no other action to be taken)
- Seize travel document and sent to originator
- Prevent subject from entering India and inform originator.
- Detain and hand over intercepted person to local police and inform originator.
In the Rs 900-crore corruption case against Mallya, the CBI chose the first option. According to sources, the look-out circular was issued on 16 October 2015 but since the circular was issued, Mallya had taken at least five trips abroad.
CBI had registered a case against Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines Chief Financial Officer A Raghunathan, and unknown officials of IDBI Bank in its FIR alleging that Rs 900 crore IDBI loan was sanctioned in violation of norms regarding credit limits on the basis of complaint received from the bank. The FIR was registered in July 2015 naming Mallya as one of the accused.
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