Published On: Thu, Feb 15th, 2018

Government did nothing despite Nirav alert in 2016: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday said that a whistleblower had alerted the government in 2016 about the Rs 11,500 crore banking fraud by fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ignored the tip.

Slip out of the country like Mallya while the government looks the other way

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said whistleblower Hari Prasad had written to the Prime Minister’s Office as early as July 2016, alerting the government about the “biggest bank loot scam in 70 years” in independent India.

“What does the Prime Minister do? Nothing. What does the Finance Ministry do? Nothing. What does the Corporate Affairs Ministry do? Nothing. What does the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Finance Ministry do? Nothing,” Surjewala told reporters here.

“You are in power, a fraud is happening under your nose. What were you doing and how did they let the accused escape? Face the truth and answer questions.”

He also asked Prime Minister Modi what the fugitive billionaire was doing with him at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

He said the “chhota Modi” was part of a delegation travelling with Prime Minister Modi despite “the complaint against him”.

On the other Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said diamond merchant Nirvav Modi’s Rs 11,500 crore fraud in the country’s second-biggest state-run bank was a guide to “looting India” which involves getting closer to and hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then slipping away from the country — like liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

“Guide to looting India by Nirav Modi. Hug PM Modi. Be seen with him in Davos. Use that clout to: steal 12,000 crore. Slip out of the country like Mallya while the government looks the other way,” Gandhi tweeted.

Gandhi’s tweet came after Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi posted a picture of Prime Minister Modi with Indian CEOs at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

The fugitive diamond merchant is seen in the group photo standing in the second row with Prime Minister Modi seated in the centre of the first row.

“What criteria does the Prime Minister use to select the CEOs accompanying him on foreign trips,” Gogoi asked in his tweet.

CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury posted the same picture, pointing out that the businessman Modi may be in Switzerland where he went with Prime Minister Modi.

“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? Modi govt must clarify,” Yechury said.

“There is a pattern in how people who have defrauded banks in India, are allowed to escape by the Modi government.”

The Punjab National Bank has said it detected the fraud at a single branch in Mumbai.

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