New Delhi, Mar 30: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government will bring back the alleged kingpin of the largest banking scam in India Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in the Rs 12,600 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB). Speaking at the fourth edition of Times Network’s India Economic Conclave on Thursday, Sitharaman said, “We have to be careful that the system doesn’t allow such loopholes. Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have not gotten away, they ran away and we will get them back.”
She also asserted that the NDA had provided a corruption-free government committed to reforms. “Corruption-free government means money is spent for right cost and right individuals,” the Defence Minister said. Calling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as one of the bold steps of the government, Sitharaman added that all the decisions of the government are “policy-based and not discretion-based”.
“GST may be having teething problems but it has been implemented successfully by the government. Saw every kind of pressure to postpone its implementation but the government is committed to reforms and has the courage to take bold reforms like GST,” she said. (Also Read: India Ready For Any Unforeseen Situation, Says Nirmala Sitharaman)
The minister also defended the government’s decision not to reveal the price of the Rafale fighter jets saying that it was in the interest of national security. “Rafale is a classic example of inter-governmental agreement to help our air forces. In every way, we have got a good deal, both in terms of preparedness as well as on the price. But revealing the price would mean compromising national security,” she said.
Sitharaman’s remarks came after Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s asked the government to reveal the amount, alleging irregularities in the deal for 36 fighter jets from France. “Rahul Gandhi is searching for ammunition against the government but hasn’t found anything… So he’s fishing. I don’t want to satisfy Rahul Gandhi’s ego and reveal details of avionics, ammunition and the changes made as per the country conditions to this sophisticated aircraft,” Sitharaman said.
India and France signed an agreement this month on the Exchange and Reciprocal Protection of Classified or Protected Information during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, replacing an earlier pact signed in 2008.