New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of protecting Nirav Modi in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and sought a reply from Ministry of External Affairs on the absconding diamantaire's travel spree using a revoked passport.
"Even as the Modi Government has been caught snoozing, Chhota Modi-2 i.e 'Nirav Modi, the absconding accused in India's 'biggest bank loot scam' is on a travel spree using a 'revoked passport' by the Ministry of External Affairs," said former Union Minister Rajeev Shukla.
Dubbing the government a mute spectator, he sought a reply from MEA on how Nirav Modi managed to travel using a revoked passport.
Nirav Modi, his wife, brother and uncle fled the country before the PNB complained against their companies, saying it had been cheated through fraudulent issue of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).
The Interpol has written a letter to investigative agencies stating that despite the revocation of his passport, Nirav Modi travelled three countries on four different dates - March 15, March 28, March 30 and March 31, Shukla disclosed.
Shukla said: "On February 24, the MEA revoked the passports of Nirav Modi, promoter of Gitanjali Group, after he failed to respond to a February 16 notice issued by the Ministry, asking them to showcause why their passports should not be impounded or revoked."
"The Interpol says that Nirav Modi travelled using Indian passport, post his 'revocation' - and then how did the Immigration authorities and exit points remain unaware of this.
"Now it is crystal clear that Modi is saving another Modi! Now the question is, whether one Modi is supporting the other," he said.
He pointed that Nirav Modi fled India on January 1, and was then seen in a group photograph with Narendra Modi during World Economic Forum from January 23 to 26.
"The MEA only revoked his passport on February 24. Why did it take 54 days to revoke his passport? Was the Modi Government aiding and abetting the escape of Nirav Modi and facilitating his escape to the farthest point from India's shores," he asked.
"While the prime minister gives 'fitness lessons' on social Media, it is business as usual, for fraudsters like Nirav Modi."
Shukla also said people are scared to keep their money in banks. "There has been a sharp decline over the last financial year in monthly receipts from small savings schemes, including in public provident funds, according to the latest RBI data," he said.