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PNB fraud case: Congress accuses Modi govt of letting businessmen escape with public money, BJP hits back

Addressing the jeweller as 'Chhota Modi', Surjewala wondered if he was tipped off by someone within the government about the PNB complaint, similar to what happened in the case of former IPL czar Lalit Modi and business tycoon Vijay Mallya.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2018 5:39 pm
Security personnel’s stand guard at the entrance to the property of Nirav Modi where an ED raid is underway at Def Col in New Delhi on Thursday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal

A day after the Punjab National Bank flagged off fraudulent transactions worth over Rs 11,000 crore in its Mumbai branch in a case related to billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his firms, Congress launched a scathing attack against the Centre on Thursday. Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said it had become a norm for the Narendra Modi government to let businessmen and corporates run away with public money. Nirav Modi is believed to have left the country on January 1.

Addressing the jeweller as ‘Chhota Modi’, Surjewala wondered if he was tipped off by someone within the government about the PNB complaint like former IPL czar Lalit Modi and business tycoon Vijay Mallya. “Was he tipped off like Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya to escape by someone within the government? Has it become the norm for letting people run away with public money?” Surjewala said.

ALSO READ: PNB Rs 11,000 crore fraud case: ED raids Nirav Modi’s offices, CBI seals his house

The Congress member also asked how could Modi dupe the banking system under the nose of the government, which has launched a fight against black money and benami transactions. “How can Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi dupe the entire banking system through forged Letters of Understanding under the nose of Modi govt?” he said and released a picture of the PM and Nirav Modi at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year.

However, hitting back at Congress, union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Whatever is coming out is the result of the previous UPA govt, action will be certainly taken on it.” Her colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad took strong exception to the word Chota Modi used by Surjewala to describe Nirav Modi. “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,” said Prasad.

The ‘fraud’ transactions of PNB detected on Wednesday, sources said, involved a few firms promoted by Modi who was initially booked by the CBI in an alleged Rs 280-crore cheating case after it received a complaint from the PNB on January 29. The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted raids in multiple properties of the diamond jeweller.

Earlier in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took an apparent dig at PM Modi and tweeted “a guide to looting India”. Gandhi listed four points and said the first involved “hugging PM Modi” and “be seen with him in Davos”. Next, he said the diamond jeweller used the clout to “steal” Rs 12, 000 crore and “slip out of the country like Mallya”.

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  1. S Nityananda
    Feb 16, 2018 at 3:21 pm
    Whether justified or not the Congress is bound to keep up the heat regarding the scamsters . One can only expect this after Mr Modi''s wholly unjustified and scurrilous attack against the Congress for being responsible for Par ion !! It''s for tat all the way to 2019 now.'
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    1. Kustagi Raghavendrachar
      Feb 16, 2018 at 5:55 am
      Clever congress party trying to drag Narendra Modi in the PNB fraud committed during its government tenure.Scamsters and ghotala frauds were the big contribution of previous cong govts to the country.Congress is playing mischief by using term chota Modi stead they should correct and accept that fraudsters were safe under fake gandhis!.Anyway the present govt should not leave any option to catch the fraudsters and their protectors.
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      1. Bharat Mahaan
        Feb 15, 2018 at 11:32 pm
        Modi let Mallya go. And now Nirav Modi will also be not touched.
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        1. M
          Murthy
          Feb 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm
          The Fraud started in 2011. In banking processes, once basic documents are accepted, once the beneficiary is known to receive a variety of Letters of Credit internationally, the process continues... I bet this Diamond Merchant knew several UPA Cons for a long time. The Cons are trying to suggest anyone in India, with the Surname Modi commits a wrong, it is at the behest or connivance of N. Modi, the Premier. Jigsaw brains reason so and, of course, Ind. Express own political inclinations would support such rockton smarts. That is why every time I vote any of these guys 'down', it turns into an 'UP' Vote...... ISI-Cons funded software is excellent. But Ind. Express scores will not decide the fate of who gets to rule India....
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          1. Kim Sharma
            Feb 15, 2018 at 7:01 pm
            There was no doubt Gujarati barons funded Bada Modi's 2014 campaign. It was to be expected they would seek their pound of flesh. No wonder, Chotta Modi was indeed helped or alerted at the right times by top leadership in BJP and the cur central government.Jeweller Nirav stole bank money mostly in 2017-- this makes crystal clear the quid pro quo. It is well known, Gujarati businessmen preferred to fund BJP, not Congress as the latter's pro-poor policies offended them. In Modi they found their support. More skeletons would tumble out of the Modi cupboard not just on diverting bank funds, but even on grisly crimes of party bigwigs that have been covered up so far with the help of police and Judiciary.
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            1. V
              Vish
              Feb 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm
              Oh yes. All corruption is due to Modi. UPA allowed Nirav to scam PNB since 2011 but at that time he was a poor man and a public sector bank was only helping him loot and get out of poverty. Congoons did not take any money for elections. They were funded by Mother Theresa's charity in 2014. And their policies were so pro poor thousands of farmers committed suicide over 50 years overcome by all that love. How we long for the good old days when people like Lalu and Chautala could roam the streets and serve the poor day and night. And since they came from a poor background they started by serving themselves first. Nothing wrong with that.
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            2. Kim Sharma
              Feb 15, 2018 at 8:31 pm
              Funds were taken away in Jan 2017. 2011 nirav opened an account with the bank. This is being cited by Modi bhakths as defence. Lame defence at the risk of suggesting that Modi kept quiet to help his jeweller friend.
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              1. Kim Sharma
                Feb 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm
                Reasons for Modi's failure as PM: 1) aiding and abetting cunning Gujarati businessmen expecting chopper and funds for campaigns 2) misuse of work time to write books, prepare for Mann ki Bath and perform yoga 3) obsession with Gandhis prevent from taking sensible decisions 4) frequent checking of smart phone to check the number of likes and followers on social media 5) lack of originality in actions as most administrative steps are cut-and-paste s of previous admin 6) precious time is lost by following and guiding the lumpen elements who are active on social media 7) preparation and planning for rallies as well as trips for rallies eat up good amount of productive time 8) tracking Rahul's activities and comments also take a toll 9) frequent online shopping for dress material also hampers work 10) improper guidance and interference in work by RSS and party leaders, and 11) poring over dictionaries to coin catchy acronyms is also time consuming.
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                1. Kim Sharma
                  Feb 15, 2018 at 10:04 pm
                  Shahanshaj thus aids his friends! What all did he get in return? Helicopter, cash...for poll campaign!u
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                  1. Kim Sharma
                    Feb 15, 2018 at 10:07 pm
                    Shahanshah thus aids his friends! What all did he get in return? Helicopter, cash...for poll campaign!
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                    1. M
                      MK
                      Feb 15, 2018 at 11:07 pm
                      The borrowing account was classified as NPA only in 2015 which means it was not in arrears during the NPA rule.
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                      1. Bharat Mahaan
                        Feb 15, 2018 at 11:33 pm
                        another khaki chaddi troll on the loose.
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                      2. V
                        vasu
                        Feb 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm
                        Government should use covert operation to hunt these criminals and kidnap them and bring them back to India to face our legal system and jail. Enough of these criminals making a mockery of our system and flying to corrupt countries like England by stealing Indian money.
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                        1. Bharat Mahaan
                          Feb 15, 2018 at 11:36 pm
                          What about Yeddyurappa, Madhi Koda and others from BJP who looted thousands of crores? What about Modi using Adani's planes during poll campaign? Do you really think these corrupt politicians of our Country will bring the accused to book? it is only a drama.
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