In an attempt to keep the banking fraud issue alive, the Congress on Thursday dug up a more than four-year-old case to attack the government. Alleging that the BJP government turned a blind eye when Jatin Mehta, the promoter of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd, the second largest bank loan defaulter in the country, fled the country, the Congress said the government’s new slogan is “looteron ka saath aur bhagodon ka vikas”.
“The new slogan of the government should be ‘khaunga aur khane dunga aur pack karke le jane dhunga,’ Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said, rephrasing the BJP’s “na khaunga, na khane dunga” slogan.
“Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Mehta scammed and scrammed under Narendra Modi government’s watch. Dupe, deceive, defraud and depart is the new badge of honour for scamsters,” he told reporters. Referring to Mehta’s case, he said complaints against him for defaulting payment to banks was filed by banks with the CBI and Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police in February 2014.
He alleged that the government and the CBI did not take action and lodged six FIRs after three-and-a-half years in April 2017. Mehta and his wife, he said, left India and gave up Indian citizenship and become citizens of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
Quoting investigators, The Indian Express had on June 2, 2016 reported that Jatin and his wife Sonia had given up Indian citizenship in 2013-14 and that the ED has attached properties worth Rs 172 crore of Winsome Diamonds and its subsidiaries under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Surjewala asked, “How did Jatin Mehta (after Modi & Mehul) dupe the entire banking system of Rs 6,712 crore? Why did CBI register an FIR on April 5, 2017 although the banks had lodged complaints with CBI as early as in February 2014? Why did the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police, ED, SFIO and Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Ministry of Finance not take any action in the scam for three-and-a-half years?”, Surjewala asked.
Surjewala asked how the Home Ministry permitted renunciation of citizenship by Jatin Mehta and his wife “in absence of an appropriate police verification in view of pendency of complaints with CBI and ED and other agencies”. He claimed that no red corner Interpol Notice been issued against Jatin and his wife and asked, “who is protecting Jatin Mehta?”
BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni said, “Congress is playing politics of double standards. When CBI takes action in their corruption cases they cry vendetta. When law enforcement agencies take action in corruption cases that happened under Congress rule, they point figures at us. ”
“Congress has a long history of corruption for which they will have to face the law. On the other hand, when their leaders are called to take part in appointment of Lokpal, they keep away and level baseless allegations against BJP- led NDA government ,” he said.