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Modi Government: Will PNB (Punjab National Bank) fraud take over Modi Government?

Lashing out at the Prime Minister and NDA government over jeweller Nirav Modi's Rs 11,400 crore bank scam, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surejwala, on Thursday, said this was the biggest scam since Independence.

The Congress said a whistleblower had alerted the government and handed over all the papers regarding Nirav Modi and one of his relatives on July 26, 2016 but the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ignored the tip.

Surjewala said whistleblower Hari Prasad had written to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in 2016, alerting the government about the "biggest bank loot scam in 70 years" in independent India.
"On July 26, 2016, Narendra Modi was handed with all papers regarding Nirav Modi and one of his relative. It was said that complaint had 42 FIRs. PMO acknowledged the complaint, they also sent registrar of companies to take some action. But in the end the government couldn't do anything," said Surjewala at a press conference in New Delhi.

"What does the Prime Minister do? Nothing. What does the finance ministry do? Nothing. What does the corporate affairs ministry do? Nothing. What does the financial intelligence unit of the finance ministry do? Nothing," Surjewala told the media.

"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 Modi government would have us believe that this entire fraud was being perpetrated by two employees."

He said Modi was made aware of this entire fraud by a whistleblower, Hari Prasad, by way of a written complaint filed July 26, 2016 and 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, Nirav Modi traveled in the business delegation to Davos in January 2018 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, Lalit Modi escaped. Vijya Mallya escaped. ABG's Rishi Agarwal escaped. Now, we are told that Nirav Modi has also escaped (from) India."

He said the scam involved over 30 banks including Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Oversees Bank, Corporation Bank, Andhra Bank, Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and the Export Import Bank of India.

Posing questions to the Prime Minister, the Congress spokesperson asked how Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi duped the entire banking system through forged letters of understanding under the nose of his government.

"Who is responsible for the biggest 'bank loot scam," Surjewala queried, asking why the Prime Minister did not take any action to protect the banking sector from the fraud despite a written complaint received in July 2016.

"Why were all the authorities, including Finance Ministry, its financial intelligence units and all other authorities sleeping?"


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