New Delhi: The Congress on Monday reacted to the report that a crucial Income Tax investigation report, prepared eight months before the PNB scam surfaced, on Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, was not shared with other law enforcement agencies as there was “no protocol”. (Also read: ED Seizes Nirav Modi’s 11 Properties in Dubai)
Addressing media, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “From June 2017, when this report came, till May 2018, when all these fugitives ran away, Sushil Chandra was Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) under which the Income Tax Department works. What was his role in helping Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi run away?”
With this, Surjewala sought to put in dock even the CBDT chairman.
Questioning the Government over the report in The Indian Express, Surjewala said, “Information that Nirav Modi is about to flee the country after fraud of Rs 23,000 cr was there with the Modi government through I-T Dept report eight months before Nirav Modi ran away. If Modi ji & Jaitley ji knew about Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi, then how did they run away?”
According to the report in the daily, the Income Tax probe ran into 10,000 pages and was finalised in June last year. However, it was not shared with other agencies, like the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence until February 2018, when the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam became public.
Modi and Choksi, and their three partnership firms, Diamond ‘R’ US, Solar Exports and Stellar DIamonds, are accused of routing Rs 13,500 crore worth of fraudulent transactions through state-owned PNB. Both left India in the first week of January 2018, weeks before the scam broke.
Meanwhile, Nirav Modi’s lawyer has told a special court that the fugitive diamantaire fears getting lynched in India. Advocate Vijay Agarwal, appearing for the absconding jeweller, also held the Enforcement Directorate “guilty of committing a fraud on the court” by concealing Nirav Modi’s communications with the agency”.