Days after it emerged that Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded PNB of Rs 11,000 crore, the Congress stepped up its attack on the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi linked the PNB scam to the demonetisation announcement by Prime Minister Modi. Gandhi said that the prime minister had destroyed the financial system of India through his actions. Mocking the prime minister, Gandhi said, “Modi ji (Nirav Modi) withdraws Rs 22,000 crore and runs away, the prime minister spent nearly one-and-half-hour teaching students how to appear for exams, but he did not tell us who’s responsible for the loot of ordinary public’s Rs 22,000 crore that Nirav Modi ran away with.
“Social Justice Minister came (to explain), Defence Minister came, but neither the prime minister nor the finance minister, who are directly responsible, has uttered a single word on this.”
Gandhi said that the scam committed by Nirav Modi may not have been possible without the protection of some ‘top people.’ “PM Modi had asked people to deposit their hard-earned money into the banks. He had, in a way, taken responsibility to protect that money. He’s clearly now failed in his responsibility. He must come forward and explain to people. Because his office too was informed about it,” Gandhi said.
On Saturday, the Congress also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of sleeping while the banking fraud of this magnitude was taking place. Taking a dig at Modi’s earlier claim that he will work as the country’s watchman stopping anyone from committing any scam, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “This watchman was sleeping as thieves fled India with thousands of crores of rupees.”
Addressing a press conference with the party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, he said, “Is this the kind of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ PM Modi talks about? I challenge BJP to come and talk about UPA’s governance and their governance. Because of their ill-intentions, they have brought India’s economy to its knees.” When a reporter asked reminded him about the alleged 2G scam, an angry Sibal lashed out at the BJP saying that the saffron party should be ashamed for having misled the country when there was no scam.
As was reported by Janta Ka Reporter, the whistle-blower HV Hari Prasad had informed the PMO on 26 July 2016 about the financial fraud in PNB bank. Prasad had also made a desperate plea to the PMO to stop the loot before Nirav Modi’s uncle, Mehul Choksi fled the country just like Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi did in the past.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday accused the Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi of having been in a business relationship with Nirav Modi in the past. Speaking to reporters, Sitharaman said that Nirav Modi-run Firestar Diamond International was leased a property of a company in which Singhvi’s wife is a director.
She told reporters, “The property of Adwait Holdings Private Limited whose directors are wife and son of Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi is rented to Nirav Modi’s jewellery company in Mumbai. Both companies have also done loan transactions. Despite the clear link with them, Congress party has the audacity to point fingers at BJP?”
Singhvi hit back at Sitharaman threatening to slap a defamation suit while clarifying that Nirav Modi’s company was a tenant of a Kamla Mills property owned by Adwait Holdings in which his wife and sons are directors.
“Adwait holdings owns a commercial property at Parel, as it does elsewhere, which was rented by Firestone many years ago. This tenancy ended in December 2017,” he said.
Singhvi said that Nirmala Sitharaman and her colleagues were liable to civil and criminal defamation for ‘making ill-considered and patently false allegations.’
Meanwhile, the government agencies including the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI have continued to raid the properties owned by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. But the government agencies have under criticism for not showing this promptness when the culprits of the scam were still in India.