New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused the Narendra Modi government of having "slept and snoozed" while fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi set up a diamond business in London after fleeing the country with the support of a firm linked to the Panama Papers.
It asked the government why it could not trace him globe-trotting, despite having the resources of all the probe agencies at its disposal.
"Today is 'World Sleep Day', therefore today the Congress party shall expose how PM Modi i.e 'Desh Ka Chowkidar' and his government slept and snoozed while 'Chhota Modi' i.e Nirav Modi looted crore (of rupees), fled the country, posed with the PM, globe-trotted, opened a new diamond business in London which has a Panama Papers connection," Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said in a press conference here.
"Simple question is - If the Congress party can expose this entire chain of events and trace his trail, why could the CBI, ED, and other investigative agencies of the Modi Government not do the same after 14 months of his escape?
"Is it not a clear-cut case of criminal complacency, complicity and connivance by Modi government with economic offenders like Nirav Modi," he said.
To bolster its point, the party produced a timeline of Nirav Modi's travels to several countries after he fled from India on January 1 and after revocation of his passport by the Indian government on February 23.
The party spokesperson said after his passport was revoked, Modi travelled to six countries: UK, UAE, Hong Kong, France and Germany. He said that the government's reasoning that he was able to travel because his passport was not "physically cancelled" was a "lameduck excuse".
He also raised the point that why was the Red Corner notice against Modi issued only in July, six months after the diamantaire, accused of defaulting on loans worth Rs 26,306 crore, fled the country.
"Is it not a criminal delay?," Khera asked.
He said that the new diamond business Modi has set up in London shares the same address as that of 'Dattani Chartered Accountants'-- a company, he claimed, named in the Panama Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
He said the accountancy firm was linked with 53 entities in all by those papers.
The party claimed that Modi fled the country with as much as 8 million pounds in cash, for he bought an apartment in London for 7.5 million pounds on January 5 -- four days after leaving India.
The party also pointed out how Modi has been able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in London, where he was spotted on March 9 by a Daily Telegraph reporter, reportedly wearing a 10,000 pound ostrich hide jacket. It was also reported that he lives in a Rs 73 crore house in London and owns an office in upmarket Soho.
Khera said that Modi's London firm, Diamond Holdings, has one officer named Raju Thakorbhai Patel, who owns an accountancy firm in north London.
He claimed that as recently as March 7, Diamond Holdings changed its address to Scottish Provident House, 76/80 College Road, Harrow, HA11BQ, the same as Dattani Chartered Accountants and Balmoral Corporate Services Limited, also named in the Panama Papers.