Congress blames government for letting off Mallya

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New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha witnessed a ruckus on Friday as Congress members accused the government of letting off Vijay Mallya, the founder of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).

In its counter-attack, the government, however, told the Congress that they would not let off Mallya the way Ottavio Quattrocchi, main accused in the Bofors scandal, was let off. Mallya is a sitting independent member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the CBI had informed immigration authorities to stop Mallya from leaving the country on October 16, 2015. But after a month, it changed the advisory and said immigration should just “inform” the CBI.

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“On 16 October 2015, the CBI informed the immigration authorities that should Mr. Mallya intend or try to leave this country he should be detained… Detention orders were issued by CBI… But exactly a month later, the CBI changed this order and told immigration they should be only informed,” said Azad.

“What happened in one month?” Azad asked.

“Government is party for his fleeing from this country,” the Leader of Opposition said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government will not let him off.

“We want to make it clear about Mallya, the government has said the country’s money will be returned. We will not let him off the way you let off Quattrocchi,” Naqvi said.

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Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman, charged with acting as a conduit for bribes in the Bofors scandal. He was allegedly given a safe passage to leave the country in 1993 to avoid arrest, six years after the scandal surfaced in 1987. He died in 2013.

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