Nirav Modi case: Rahul Gandhi takes ‘Mallya’ swipe at Centre, says government ‘looked the other way’

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New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2018 4:13:57 PM

The government has come under attack of the opposition in the Punjab National Bank case, with the Congress, Left and the Aam Aadmi Party suggesting that the govenrment had a role in allowing Nirav Modi to allegedly slip out of the country.

Nirav Modi, Punjab National Bank, Arvind Kejriwal‬, ‪Narendra Modi‬, ‪Bharatiya Janata Party‬, ‪Nirav Modi‬, ‪Chief Minister of Delhi‬‬, Securities and Exchange Board of India‬, ‪Reserve Bank of India‬‬Rahul Gandhi today referred to the presence of Nirav Modi alongside Primem Minister Narendra Modi in Davos last month.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused the government of “looking the other way” as reports claimed that billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, who is being seen as the man at the centere of the alleged Rs 11,500 crore fraud at Punjab national Bank, had left the country. Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the jeweller businessman had used his clout to get his way around to “steal Rs 12,000 crore” and “slip out of the country like Mallya”. The Congress president’s post, titled “guide to looting India by Nirav Modi”, refers to the presence of the businessman at Davos in a group photograph on January 23. Rahul, in his tweet suggested that Nirav had used this clout to “slip out of the country.”

“Guide to Looting India by Nirav MODI…1. Hug PM Modi 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS…Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000Cr, B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the Govt looks the other way,” Rahul wrote on Twitter.

The Congress president’s remark came even as the Opposition launched a scathing attack at the government. The Congress as well as the Aam Aadmi Party attacked the government and alleged that Nirav had been allowed to charged it of aiding his alleged escape like Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi. In a full-frontal attack at the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wondered whether Nirav Modi was the new “Modiscam” and how it letting people run away with public money was becoming a norm.

AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also attacked the Centre. Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal asked if it was possible to believe that Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya could have left the country without “active connivance of BJP government”. The government also came under attack of the CPM, with Sitaram Yechury seeking answers of the Prime Minister. “If this person had fled India before the FIR on January 31, then he is here photographed at Davos with the PM, a week before the FIR, after having escaped from India?” Yechury tweeted, adding that the government must clarify.

The BJP, on the other hand, has countered the Congress’ allegations and alleged that “whatever was coming out” is the result of the previous UPA govt. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharam said that the government would take necessary action in the matter. Punjab National Bank MD Sunil Mehta told reporters on Friday that the “scam” was first detected by its own officials in 2011 and the matter had been reported to concerned agencies.

The matter came to light when Punjab National Bank on Wednesday informed stock exchanges that it had detected “fraudulent transactions” worth about Rs 11,500 crore at one of its Mumbai branches. In the filing with exchanges, PNB informed that the transactions were “for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance” and that other banks may have advanced money based on these transactions to these customers abroad. Shares of the state-run lender have dropped sharply since reports of this disclosure came out. Several bank employees at PNB are also said to be under scanner.

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