Under fire over the flip-flop on Vijay Mallya's look-out circular(LOC), a red-faced CBI today admitted that the first notice seeking detention of the beleaguered businessman was issued to Bureau of Immigration because of an "inadvertent error" on its part.
The CBI is facing flak after questions were raised how the liquor baron was able to go abroad unhindered on March 2 that has triggered a political slugfest with the BJP and the Congress trading charges.
It had changed the nature of look-out notice against Mallya within one month of issuance from seeking his detention while leaving the country to that of merely providing information about his travel plans.
A CBI spokesperson today claimed Mallya was not found during searches on October 10, 2015 after which the agency wrote to BoI, saying it needs to be issued to ensure "his availability for questioning" in connection with Rs 900 crore loan default case involving IDBI bank.
She said that along with the covering letter, proforma for the circular was attached in which the column related to seeking the detention of an accused was wrongly "ticked" by a SP-level officer.
The agency claimed detention under the look-out circular was only possible on the strength of a non-bailable warrant against an accused which was not the case with Mallya.
It said on November 23, CBI's Mumbai office was informed by BoI about the "imminent arrival" of Mallya over phone.
It wanted to know what needs to be done to which the agency realised "corrective" measures were needed and told it not to detain him and asked to provide only his whereabouts and movements, the agency claimed.
A day after the look out circular was changed from seeking "detention" to "only providing information about his movements", Mallya arrived in India and appeared for questioning before CBI on December 9, 10 and 11, it said.
After opening of look-out circular, Mallya travelled abroad at least three times before his departure on March 2.
According to CBI manual, "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."
CBI had registered a case against Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines, Chief Financial Officer of the airlines 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 a complaint received from the bank.