Someone Could Have "Tipped Off" Vijay Mallya, Says Attorney General

Vijay Mallya had skipped the country on March 2, 2016, the day banks moved to recover debts to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.

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Someone Could Have 'Tipped Off' Vijay Mallya, Says Attorney General

A British court will give its verdict on Vijay Mallya's extradition on December 10

New Delhi: 

The government's top law officer, Mukul Rohatgi, has remarked that it is a "big coincidence" that Vijay Mallya left India on the day a group of banks moved to recover his debts. It was possible that "someone could have tipped off Mallya", Mr Rohatgi said -- a remark that is expected to add to the opposition's case against the government.

Vijay Mallya, who is fighting to stave off India's efforts to extradite him so he can be put to trial, had skipped the country on March 2, 2016, the day banks moved to recover debts to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore from him.

After Vijay Mallya's remark yesterday that he had met Union minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India and that he informed him about his journey to London, the opposition has accused the minister of being in league with the fugitive liquor baron.

The accusations of collusion has gained steam after it became known that a  lookout notice against Vijay Mallya, calling for his detention on sight at airports, was diluted months before he left.

The Central Bureau of Investigation - one of the agencies investigating the liquor baron - said the lookout notice, circulated on October 16, 2015, was converted to a notice for "report on arrival" in November. At the time, Mr Mallya frequently shuttled between India and UK and the agency said it did not believe that he would escape.

"Yes if we went earlier, he wouldn't be able to escape," Mr Rohatgi said. "Lookout notices weren't common then, as it is now."

Mr Mallya, who was in London when the lookout circular was issued, returned when it was diluted. From then to March, he went a back and forth at least five times. On March 2, he left India and did not come back.

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