New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday called Nirav Modi, the billionair jeweller in ED net for 11,400 crore fraud, "Chota Modi", and also flashed his photograph with Prime Minister Modi at Davos, leaving the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) sulking in rage.
While addressing a press conference at party office in New Delhi Thursday morning, Congress media Incharge Randeep Surjewala showed a picture in which Nirav Modi can be seen along with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Davos.
"PM Modi's office received a written complaint about the Nirav Modi Scam in July 2016. Yet the PM chose to look the other way giving Nirav Modi ample time to leave the country. Why so silent PM Modi?", he said.
"The Modi Govt needs to come clean about its inaction on the Nirav Modi Scam. Were the authorities sleeping or was Nirav Modi receiving protection from the top levels?" he added.
He also alleged that Prime Minister Modi had met Nirav during his visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum.
Responding to Congress charges, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress claim has no basis, saying the behaviour of the main opposition party is "derogatory, scandalous and demeaning".
“What is this word ‘Chhota Modi’? BJP takes strong offence to the kind of language being used by describing someone like that. It is derogatory, scandalous and demeaning,” he said while addressing a press conference.
“Nirav Modi did not meet PM Modi at Davos. Nirav Modi had arrived in Davos on his own and was present at CII group photo event,” claimed Prasad.
State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday said it had detected a USD 1.77 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) scam where billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders.
The ED also filed money laundering case against Nirav Modi and raided multiple locations related to Him in Surat, Mumbai and Delhi on Thursday.
Nirav Modi made it to the Forbes' list of billionaires in 2013 and has remained in the exclusive group ever since. In the Forbes' list of billionaires for 2016, Nirav Modi was ranked 1,067 in the world and 46 in India. He was ranked 1,054 globally and 82 in India a year ago. Nirav Modi was born in a family of diamond merchants.
The Forbes had described Nirav Modi as one of the youngest billionaires of India. He is the founder of USD 2.3 billion Firestar Diamond and has business spread across three continents from China in Asia to Hawaii Islands in North America.
Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took Twitter Thursday afternoon and linked Nirav with the prime minister, accusing the former of using the latter's clout for "looting public money".
“Guide to looting India by Nirav Modi –1. Hug PM Modi 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS....
"Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000 crore B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the government looks the other way,” Gandhi tweeted.
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