The Congress on Monday sharpened its attack on the Narendra Modi government over the Nirav Modi-PNB scam, asking why the Income Tax Department did not share its investigation report that it had finalised in June 2017 with other agencies, and wondered whether it amounted to a case of collusion, connivance by and conflict of interest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The party sought the finance minister’s resignation over the issue.
“8 months before they were allowed to flee, the IT dept. wrote a 10,000 pg report on Chota Modi & Choksi’s massive fraud. Govt had evidence to arrest them. But didn’t because FM Jaitlie’s daughter was hired as Choksi’s lawyer. FM Jaitlie must resign immediately,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
The Congress reaction came after The Indian Express reported on Monday that the Income Tax Department had prepared a probe report running into about 10,000 pages on bogus purchases, huge overvaluation of stocks, suspicious payments to relatives and dubious loans regarding the firms of diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. But the report was not shared with other agencies like the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), CBI, ED and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) until February 2018, when the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam became public.
“Why did the Income Tax Department not share its investigative report with the ED, SFIO, CBI and DRI in June 2017 itself… Why did the MEA provide clean chit certificate to Choksi in May 2017… Do these deliberate concealments not point to a direct connivance of the Modi government…”Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.
He also raised questions on the role of Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman Sushil Chandra. “Why was he given two consecutive extensions? Was it a reward for the cover-up exercise?” he asked.