New Delhi, Feb 16: The government on Thursday came out lashing at the Congress for suggesting that Nirav Modi, the high-profile diamond merchant at the center of an over Rs 10,000 crore money laundering from Punjab National Bank, was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Davos contingent. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress of demeaning the prime minister by using words like ‘chhota Modi’ for him.

“What is this word ‘chhota Modi’? BJP takes strong offence to the kind of language being used by describing someone like that. It is derogatory, scandalous and demeaning,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The minister further clarified that PM Modi did not meet Nirav Modi at Davos nor part of Indian contingent at the event World Economic Forum. “He (Nirav) was part of the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) delegation,” he added.

“Nirav Modi did not meet PM Modi at Davos. Nirav Modi had arrived in Davos on his own and was present at CII group photo event,” he said.  (Also Read:  Hug PM Modi, Attend Event With Him is Nirav Modi’s Guide to Loot India, Says Rahul Gandhi)

Congress photo ki rajneeti bandh kare. Many good and cosy photographs of many of the Congress leaders with Mehul Choksi is available with us, but we don’t want to stoop to that level,” Prasad said and added that the government has initiated process to revoke passport of Nirav Modi.

Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference, Punjab National Bank (PNB) MD Sunil Mehta said the bank has initiated action against all those, including its staff, in the fraud case. Mehta said Nirav Modi, who owns multiple high-end jewellery showrooms in Mumbai, New Delhi and foreign locations, had left India on January 1 nearly a month before the Central Bureau of Investigation was approached with a complaint against him.  (Also Read: Nirav Modi PNB Fraud: PMO Was Alerted, Failed to Take Action, Alleges Congress)

“It started in 2011, we detected it in the third week of January, 2018 and we promptly investigated it for 3-4 days, we went to CBI on January 29 and FIR was booked on January 30. Lookout notice has also been issued against Nirav Modi,” PNB MD, Sunil Mehta, said.

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted multiple searches in connection with a Rs 280 crore money laundering case against billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and others following a complaint by Punjab National Bank.

Official sources said the agency sleuths swooped down on at least ten premises of entities involved in the case early morning.

The premises raided by the ED here include Modis residence in Kurla, his jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company locations in Bandra and Lower Parel, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modis showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.