Nirav Modi tracked down to London, Congress slams Centre
With billionaire Nirav Modi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, tracked down to London, the Congress on Saturday slammed the Centre for its failure to bring back the fugitive diamantaire to justice while he apparently thrived elsewhere
New Delhi: With billionaire Nirav Modi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, tracked down to London, the Congress on Saturday slammed the Centre for its "failure" to bring back the fugitive diamantaire to justice while he apparently thrived elsewhere.
The Opposition's attack came soon after the UK's The Telegraph newspaper claimed Nirav Modi has been spotted in London.
"In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to bring back Rs 80 lakh crore black money, and deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank accounts of each Indian. But instead he has ensured that Rs 1 lakh crore of honest taxpayers' deposits are now being freely used by fraudsters to lead a luxurious, guilt-free life in foreign shores," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said at a media briefing, here on Saturday.
Chaturvedi also alleged Modi turned a blind eye to the Rs 26,306 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam for more than eight months, thereby allowing the fugitives a "free pass to flee India".
Hitting out at the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a video message: "Today, the fugitive diamantaire 'chota Modi' has been traced to London, living a luxurious life in a Rs 75 crore flat and wearing a jacket worth 10,000 British pound."
"It is right Modiji (Narendra Modi), first rob Rs 23,000 crore from the banks; escape the country without any problem and then ridicule the investigative agencies like the CBI and the ED. It seems that Modiji is running Bank Fraudster Settlement Company.
"You (Modi) promised to bring back Rs 80,000 crore black money but instead you allowed Rs 1 lakh crore to be robbed from banks. It is because 'Modi hai to mumkin hai' (Impossible is possible under Modi)," Surjewala said.
Earlier, a video released by The Telegraph showed Nirav Modi walking the London streets sporting a changed look with a handle bar moustache and long hair. He was seen avoiding questions posed at him by the reporter by saying "no comments".
The Indian intelligence agencies had already provided inputs about the fugitive billionaire's new disguise.
The newspaper report also stated Nirav Modi, against whom a red corner notice has been issued by the Interpol, has been living in London's West End area and has even started a new diamond business.
An extradition request against Nirav Modi has been pending since last September before the UK authorities.
On February 26, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached the Rs 147 crore properties of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the PNB fraud probe.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are under probe by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED. The ED filed money laundering cases against them and others on February 15 on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI.
The ED has till date attached Rs 4,765 crore properties of Choksi and Nirav Modi.