The Congress held the BJP responsible for the Rs 11,400-crore Punjab National Bank scam involving jewelry designer Nirav Modi and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of institutionalising “crony capitalism”.
NEW DELHI: Congress leader Kapil Sibal accused the prime minister and his government of bringing the economy to its knees, and warned that the country’s image would get a beating internationally under him.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal accused the prime minister and his government of bringing the economy to
its knees, and warned that the country’s image would get a beating internationally under him.
He also took a dig at Modi, alleging that while he was “sleeping” as the country’s watchman, thieves
were fleeing with the nation’s wealth.
Quoting the second FIR filed by the CBI in the case, the Congress leader said that all letters of
understanding (Los) to the accused was signed in 2017 under the NDA government, which failed to
prevent the scam from happening.
Addressing a joint press conference with Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala,
Shaktisinh Gohil and Pawan Khera, Sibal sought to know why Modi refused to divulge details of all those
people who accompanied him on his foreign tours.
“Is this the kind of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ PM Modi talks about?” he asked.
“I challenge BJP to come and talk about UPA’s governance and their governance. Because of they’re ill-
intentions, they have brought India’s economy to its knees,” he told reporters.
Sibal, a former minister, and noted lawyer accused the Prime Minister’s office and the finance ministry
of turning a blind eye to the multi-crore bank scam, saying they were very much aware of it.
“They were aware of all this. But they turned a blind eye. They were aware that the country was being
looted,” he alleged.
Sibal also questioned why the HRD Minister and the Social Justice Minister were fielded by the
government to defend it on the matter.
“What does an HRD Minister have to do with this? Is the minister very admiring of the quality of the human
resource of Nirav Modi? What is the Social Justice Minister have to do with this? What has the
Law Ministry to do with this scam?” he asked and said neither the finance ministry nor the RBI has come forward
to answer questions.
He also alleged that the market capitalisation of listed companies in the gems and jewelry business
is pegged at Rs 41.66 billion, while its gross current debt stands at Rs 94 billion.
“This means that the debt is twice the market capitalisation and that is a scam in itself. Who can say
that the government did not know this,” he asked.
Nirav Modi, 46, a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, was booked by the
CBI, along with wife, brother, and Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating the state-run PNB to the
tune of Rs 280 crore.
The bank subsequently sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more
than Rs 11,400 crore.
The jewelry designer is understood to be a citizen of the country but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are
not Indian nationals. They all left India between January 1 and 6, the CBI had said.