PM running 'fraudster settlement' scheme: Cong

Last Updated 09 March 2019, 10:10 IST

The Congress slammed government on Saturday over a media report that fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was living in a swanky apartment in London and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running a "fraudster settlement yojana" for such fugitives.

The opposition party also alleged that fugitives had looted Rs 1 lakh crore from Indian banks but not even one of them has been caught in five years of the Modi government.

The government has said that the UK still considering the request to extradite Nirav Modi and India is taking all steps necessary for his extradition.

British daily The Telegraph reported that billionaire diamond tycoon, accused in the USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, has been tracked down by it to an 8 million pound apartment in London's West End.

"Fugitive Nirav Modi has been seen enjoying in London, living in a Rs 75 crore flat and wearing a 10,000 pound jacket," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

"First loot Rs 23,000 crore from banks, then run away from the country without any checks, mock the CBI and the ED and then make a comfortable home in a Rs 75 crore flat. (Narendra) Modi is there, so it is possible," he claimed.

It seems Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running a "bank fraudsters settlement company" for the likes of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, Surjewala alleged.

"Fugitives looted Rs 1 lakh crore from Indian banks but you have not even caught one in the last five years," he claimed.

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said it is another instance in which the Modi government has proved that "their slogan 'Modi hai toh mumkin hai' (It's possible if there is Modi) correct for fraudsters. The country is now a witness to the Narendra Modi Fraudster Settlement Yojana".

"How in 2014, PM Modi had promised the return of Rs 80 lakh crore of black money to India and Rs 15 lakh back in the accounts of every Indian but instead he has ensured Rs 1 lakh crore honest taxpayers' deposits are now being freely used by these fraudsters to lead a luxurious guilt-free life in foreign shores," she told reporters.

Chaturvedi also said that Prime Minister Modi had complete knowledge of Nirav Modi's dealings.

"Yet, PM Modi stayed silent and turned a blind eye. India will never forget the Rs 26,306 crore PNB scam...and how these fugitives were given 'a free pass to flee India'," the Congress leader said.

Chaturvedi also accused the government of not pressuring the UK over the extradition request of Nirav Modi.

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram also reacted to the media report.

"When Lalit Modi stayed on in the UK, I wrote to the UK Chancellor that he should be sent back to India. Mrs Sushma Swaraj mocked me for writing letters," he said in a tweet.

"Now Nirav Modi is walking on the streets of London. Will Mrs Sushma Swaraj swoop down, pluck him off the street and bring him back to India?" he said in another tweet.

(Published 09 March 2019, 09:56 IST)

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