The Congress on Thursday launched a stinging attack on the Centre’s Narendra Modi government by alleging that ‘loot and escape’ had become its new identity.
Reacting to the Rs 11,000 crore PNB scam and fleeing of Nirav Modi from India, the mastermind behind the scam, the party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, said, “The entire system was bypassed. All regulatory mechanisms broke down. Everything escaped the eyes of auditors and investigators. ‘Risk management’ and ‘fraud detection ability’ came to naught. Yet, the Modi government would have us believe that this entire fraud was being perpetrated by two employees.”
Surjewala added, “Has it become the norm for letting people run away with public money? Who is responsible?”
He asked how a man being investigated for thousands of crores of rupees worth scam was allowed to travel to Davos as part of PM Modi’s delegation? Referring to Nirav Modi as chhota Modi (little Modi), Surjewala reminded how the former IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, and the liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, too were allowed to leave India by the Modi government.
Taking exception the ‘Chhota Modi’ jibe by Surjewala, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that it is “shameful, derogatory, scandalous and demeaning” to the PM.
The CBI has booked billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an associate for allegedly cheating PNB and other banks of around Rs 280 crore. This was after the $1.8 billion (Rs 11,000 crore) fraud was detected at one of the Mumbai branches of PNB recently.
The 48-year-old billionaire diamond merchant was ranked 85 in the Forbes’ list of the richest Indians in 2017. Nirav Modi had roped in Priyanka Chopra to be the global ambassador for the Nirav Modi brand last year. He left India even before the PNB could file an FIR giving rise to suspicion that his links with powerful people may have helped him escape.
Nirav Modi’s younger brother Neeshal Modi is married to Mukesh Ambani’s niece Isheta Salgaocar. Mukesh Ambani had hosted a star-studded pre-wedding bash for the couple at his Mumbai home in 2016.