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Opposition targets PM on banking fraud by jeweller Nirav Modi (Political Roundup)

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The opposition on Thursday mounted a belligerent attack on and his government, accusing it of failing to act on time against a of Rs 20,000 crore and of complicity in letting the alleged kingpin billionaire diamond merchant Nirav flee the country.

The government refused to take the blame for the fraud in India's second biggest state-run bank, saying it happened during the UPA rule and that won't spare anyone involved in the scam. The BJP took offence to calling Nirav a "Chhota Modi", saying it was shameful and irresponsible.

The led the opposition charge with alleging that Nirvav Modi's case was a guide to "looting India" which involves getting closer to and Modi and then slipping away from the country -- like liquor baron

The circulated a picture of Prime Minister Modi with Indian CEOs at the in in January in which is seen standing in the second row.

It asked Prime Minister Modi to come clean on the government's "failure" and identify those who helped the "Chhota Modi" run away.

Defending the government, IT and said it took "strong offence" to the Congress calling the billionaire "Chhota Modi", saying it was "derogatory, scandalous and demeaning" to the Prime Minister.

The Congress posed a series of questions to the Prime Minister, saying the PMO failed to act even after a complaint was filed to Modi's office as early as July 26, 2016.

"The Congress demands accountability, responsibility and recovery of the money and answers on who had protected another 'Chhota Modi' and helped him flee the country," told reporters.

It pegged the scam at more than Rs 20,000 crore -- Rs 11,400 on account of Nirav Modi's actions and Rs 9,872 crore through exposure of various banks by his uncle

Surjewala said the should break their silence.

Accusing the NDA government of trampling upon the entire banking system, he said risk management system, fraud detection ability and regulatory mechanism of banks were "severally compromised" under the

"Entire system was bypassed. All regulatory mechanisms broke down. Everything escaped the eyes of auditors and investigators. Risk management and fraud detection ability came to a naught. Yet, the would have us believe that this entire fraud was being perpetrated by two employees."

Citing a complaint by whistleblower Hari Prasad, the Congress said Modi was made aware of this fraud on July 26, 2016 and it was acknowledged by the PMO.

"Multiple documents, including a list of 42 FIRs that were pending, were also in the knowledge of the Prime Minister. Despite all this, travelled in the business delegation to in January with Prime Minister Modi."

Alleging that "loot and escape" had become the hallmark of the Modi government, Surjewala said: "Post-escape of 'Lalit Modi' i.e. 'Chhota Modi' and 'Vijay Mallya', another 'Modi scam' has hit India's banking sector the hardest. First, escaped. Vijya Mallya escaped. ABG's Rishi Agarwal escaped. Now, we are told that has also escaped (from) "

CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury guessed that the Modi may be in where he was photographed with Prime Minister Modi.

"If this person had fled before the FIR on January 31, then he is here, photographed at with the PM, a week before the FIR, after having escaped from The must clarify," Yechury said.

Minister and Trinamool Congress demanded a thorough probe into the fraud, vowing she would not let the off the hook until the people's money was secured.

Banerjee said she has written to the to scrap the proposed Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill.

The ruling in also attacked the government, alleging that the BJP was "benefiting big and defrauders like Lalit Modi, and Nirav Modi and its leaders were involved in the scams done by these people".

The government sought to distance itself, blaming the Congress-led UPA regime for influencing loans that became non-performing assets (NPAs) while asserting that the guilty will not be spared.

Minister Prasad said no loans had been given in Modi government's tenure which can become NPAs and the loan to Nirav Modi was given during the tenure of the (UPA).

"The legacy of NPAs comes from the Congress."



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 19:48 IST