Was the CBI Jt Director Ordered to Revise Mallya’s Lookout Notice?

Is CBI making its junior official a scapegoat, because a lookout circular needs to be approved by a Jt Director?

2 min read
Vijay Mallya owes Rs 900 crore to IDBI bank. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

On Friday, the CBI confessed that it had made a mistake in issuing the Lookout Circular (LOC) against liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The CBI, quite conveniently, blamed a junior officer for wrongly ticking the box seeking ‘detention’ on the LOC proforma. But is it possible that the proforma was issued without the approval a CBI Joint Director?

The CBI crime manual, available on its official website, clearly states the protocol to be followed by the agency while issuing LOCs. Chapter 12.34 of the CBI crime manual reads:

In case it is suspected that the absconding accused may flee the country, Lookout Notices/Circulars may be got issued through the Deputy Director (Coordination), CBI, New Delhi. Request for Lookout Notices should be sent only after obtaining approval of the Joint Director concerned. The necessity for continuing the Lookout Notice should be reviewed every six months.

AK Sharma, the Joint Director of the Bank Security & Fraud division, is looking after the bank fraud case against Mallya. As per procedure, the 16 October 2015 LOC seeking Mallya’s detention couldn’t have been issued without Sharma’s approval. And if at all it was issued without Sharma’s approval, then it should be registered as a procedural lapse.

The Quint wrote to the CBI seeking clarification on whether Sharma approved the LOC or not. The agency is yet to respond. This article will be updated in case the CBI replies.

Meet CBI Joint Director AK Sharma

A CBI team at work. (Photo: PTI)
A CBI team at work. (Photo: PTI)

Sharma is an IPS officer from the Gujrat Cadre 1987 Batch. He joined the CBI in April 2015. This is not for the first time that Sharma is at the centre of a controversy. Sharma’s name had cropped up during the investigation of the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. He, allegedly, in connivance with the other officers, tried to delay the investigation.

Sharma’s name also surfaced in the infamous snooping controversy on a young woman architect. She was reportedly kept under watch by a senior Gujarat police official on the alleged instruction of the then Minister of State for Home Amit Shah.

Is the CBI trying to protect its senior official, who is reportedly close to senior BJP leaders, by nailing down a junior CBI official in a major goof-up? Was there an undertable understanding between the CBI and Mallya in toning down the LOC? Or was it political pressure that forced the agency to revise Mallya’s LOC?

Also Read:
How Vijay Mallya Became SBI’s ‘Wilful Defaulter’
Mallya Lookout Circular: CBI Goof-Up or Cover-Up?
CBI’s Look-Out Notice Sought to Detain Mallya, but Was Changed
Mallya’s Troubles Mount: ED May Widen Probe to Other Countries
Vijay Mallya’s Long Summer, as DRT Freezes Funds from Diageo

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