PNB Scam: Congress blames PM Narendra Modi for shielding ‘mama-bhanja’

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday squarely blamed Prime Minister Modi for protecting the “Mama-Bhanja” team of diamond merchants Mehul C Choksi and Nirav Modi in defrauding the Punjab National Bank. “Why did PM not taken any action on a written complaint received and acknowledged by the PMO on 26th July, 2016,” asked Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala at a Press conference here.

He said the complaint was filed about the entire fraud being perpetuated on the banks along with pending 42 FIRs and yet the bank lost money and the accused escaped. Instead of ordering a probe on a whistle-blower’s complaint, Surjewala said the PM had rather taken fraudster Nirav (47) in the delegation he led last month to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Surjewala also released the complaint against Choksi filed by one Bengaluru-based whistle-blower S V Hari Prasad. Had PM got the FIR registered on this complaint and ordered the probe by the agencies in July 2016, such a big fraud with public money would have been averted, he said. He pointed out that Choksi, who runs Gitanjali Gems Limited, is one of the four accused in the PNB FIR registered with the CBI, while he is also a shareholder and director in his nephew’s global diamond jewellery house that goes by the name of “Nirav Modi.”

Surjewala alleged that Nirav Modi was also allowed to escape from India before the case was formally registered against him, noting that his name is added to an ever-growing list of fraudsters that have escaped from the clutches of law, starting with Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya and Rishi Agrawal.

Surjewala posed five questions to the Prime Minister on the issue:

— How did Nirav and Choksi dupe the entire banking system through forged LoUs and who is responsible for this biggest scam of bank loot?

— Why did PM not take any action to protect the banking sector’s interests despite the written complaint and why were all the authorities, including finance ministry and intelligence unit, sleeping on their job?

— How was Nirav Modi permitted to escape from the clutches of law by leaving the country despite a written request to the CBI by the PNB’s Deputy General Manager to issue a look-out notice to prevent Nirav from leaving the country?

— How was the entire system bypassed with the fraud even escaping the eyes of all auditors and investigators? What was the active complicity at the highest level? Who is protecting Nirav Modi/Mehul Choksi?

— How did the entire banking sector’s “Risk Management System” and “Fraud detection Ability” come to a naught?

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