The Congress on Friday questioned the "silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the charge by its leader P L Punia that businessman Vijay Mallya met Jaitley in Parliament before leaving India and claimed it indicates admission of guilt.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeted Modi alleging that there was a change in look-out notice against Mallya by the CBI "which was inconceivable without the approval of the PM" as the agency reports to him.
The opposition charged the prime minister and the finance minister with "helping" Mallya flee the country and said, "the nation wants to know who is the chief architect, protector and benefactor in Vijay Mallya's escape?" Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the prime minister and the finance minister have not rebutted or confirmed the charge made by Punia that he had witnessed Jaitley and Mallya in a huddle in the central hall of Parliament on March 1, 2016.
"Despite the revelation about a meeting between the Rs 9000 crore bank scam offender and Arun Jaitley on March 1, 2016, the prime minister and his finance minister have maintained a conspiratorial silence "Is this silence an admission of guilt by PM Modi and FM Jaitley?," he asked and demanded that the finance minister and the consortium of banks led by SBI and CBI/SFIO answer the issues which are important to the nation.
Claiming that Jaitley has lost legal, ethical and moral right to continue as minister, he said the finance minister should resign "as his silence is pointing towards admission of guilt".
"Why is the PM afraid to conduct a fair investigation in this matter? "If the prime minister does not act, it will be proved that the 'chowkidaar' (watchman) is not just a 'Bhaagidaar' (partner) but is guilty of protecting the criminal." He alleged that "multiple skeletons are tumbling out of Modi Government's cupboard".
He said after Punia controverted Jaitley's statement and sought CCTV camera recordings of central hall of Parliament, "24 hours have passed but Jaitley, the entire government, as also the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha Secretariat are maintaining complete silence and are not daring to rebut Punia or the Congress party".
"Does it not prove something terribly fishy about Shri Jaitley's conduct? We ask Mr Jaitley, Is it an admission of your guilt?," he said.
The Congress leader said Jaitley met Mallya, as per his own admission, on March 1, 2016 and the accused businessman escaped from India "the next day with 36 suitcases, completely unchecked and unhindered by any authority or any law agency".
"For over 30 months Jaitley didn't say a word about this meeting.
"Why did he not state this fact on the floor of Parliament in the debate in March 2016 when he is leader of the Rajya Sabha? Why did he not come clean about it earlier?," he asked.
The Congress also asked as to "who ordered CBI to change the lookout notice from 'to detain' to 'to inform' and why Jaitley did not inform the agencies if he had knowledge of "Mallya's escape" Surjewala pointed out that SBI led the consortium of banks and met Supreme Court senior advocate Dushyant Dave on Sunday, February 28, 2016 for advice on Mallya.
Yesterday, Dave has gone on record to state that he advised SBI Management to move the Supreme Court the next very day i.e. February 29, 2016 and get the passport of Vijay Mallya confiscated, but the SBI management and other banks never returned the next day for action against Vijay Mallya or for blocking his escape, he alleged.
"Why did the banks wait to move the Supreme Court against Vijay Mallya uptill 5th March 2016 when Vijay Mallya had already escaped on 2nd March 2016? Does it not prove a sinister conspiracy to help Vijay Mallya?," he asked.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)