New Delhi, February 15: A war of words has begun after fraud by diamond merchant Nirav Modi surfaced with both the Opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) taking pot shots at each other. Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the Narendra Modi government for turning a blind eye as Nirav Modi fled the country similar to liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
According to Rahul, the ‘guide to loot India’ is by hugging the Prime Minister and then seen with him at an event. “Guide to Looting India by Nirav Modi — 1. Hug PM Modi, 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS. Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000 crore, B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the government looks the other way,” tweeted Rahul.
“On 26 July 2016, the PM was handed with all papers regarding Nirav Modi and one of his relatives. It was said that complaint had 42 FIRs. The PMO acknowledged the complaint, they also sent registrar of companies to take some action. But in the end the govt couldn’t do anything,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi. Even the Left attacked the Modi government over the case.
Tweeting a picture of Nirav being photographed with the Prime Minister at DAVOS, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “If this person had fled India before the FIR on January 31, then he is here, photographed at Davos with the Prime Minister, a week before the FIR, after having escaped from India? Modi government must clarify.” (Also read: PNB on Nirav Modi Fraud: Wrongdoers Won’t go Unpunished, We’ll Ensure Strict Action)
“There is a pattern in how people who have defrauded banks in India, are allowed to escape by the Modi government,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
Nirav left the country even before a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by the Punjab National Bank in the Rs 280 crore cheating case. This comes even as raids are being carried out by the Enforcement Directorate at 12 premises of Nirav across the country, including New Delhi.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Home Affairs is clueless on whether Nirav has left India or not. It is in ED’s domain and immigration authorities will check, report said.
The ED registered a money laundering case in connection with the Rs 280-crore fraud in PNB allegedly by Modi and others, on the basis of a FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. On Wednesday (February 14), the CBI had received two fresh complaints from PNB against Modi and a jewellery company alleging fraudulent transactions worth about Rs 11,400 crore.
A case has been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR filed early this month. It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.
The agency, they said, would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
The CBI had booked Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017.
It had also raided the residence of Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials — Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the FIR as accused.
“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and a wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to Punjab National Bank during 2017,” the CBI FIR has alleged.
The bank had also alleged in the complaint that a fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LOU) took place on January 16, 2018 for and on behalf of the accused firms, which approached the bank and presented a set of import documents to the branch with a request to allow buyers’ credit for making payment to overseas suppliers.
The bank had also intimated stock exchange BSE about the “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions worth over USD 1771.69 million in one of its branches in Mumbai.
With inputs from PTI