The fact that Nirav Modi, who fled India after reports of a Rs 14,000-crore scam surfaced against him, was seen casually sauntering through a busy London street on Friday, led many Indians to take to Twitter against the inability of the Indian government to nab him effectively.
An overwhelming number of those who reacted on Twitter were politicians in the Opposition, who focused on how journalists of the London newspaper The Telegraph could track him down but the Indian government reportedly could not.
One of the first to react to the story, which broke at around dawn in India, was the Congress party through its official handle on Twitter.
Journalists of the @telegraph managed to track down Nirav Modi. Why was the Modi Govt unable to do so? Who is Modi trying to protect? Himself, Nirav Modi or the people who let him escape? https://t.co/Rp6BFNh3zt
" Congress (@INCIndia) March 9, 2019
Randeep Singh Surjewala, the communications in-charge of the Congress, a party which has often accused the Narendra Modi government of shielding one India's biggest fraudsters, also chipped in, putting the blame of Nirav Modi's freedom on the likes of the prime minister, his finance minister Arun Jaitley, the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Pl watch Trailor- A day in the life of 'Poster Boy' for 'Bank Fraudsters Settlement Scheme abroad'! Director & Producer- Narender Modi! Editor- Arun Jaitley! Script Writer- ED & CBI! Production Cost- ¹23,000Cr! Financed by- Indian Banks! ¤®¥¤¦¥ ¤¹¥ ¤¤¥ ¤®¥¤®¤¤¿¤¨ ¤¹¥!!! https://t.co/NdzDzq0JXM " Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 9, 2019
Congress's Priyanka Chaturvedi also spoke on the issue in a press conference and accused the chowkidar (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) of being asleep. The Congress communications convener also issued a statement on questions the nation would like to ask of the prime minister at this juncture.
National Congress Party leader Dhananjay Munde went a step further by sharing a meme in which Narendra Modi's face had been superimposed on Nirav's.
" Dhananjay Munde (@dhananjay_munde) March 9, 2019
Other Opposition party leaders who took the issue to Twitter, ostensibly aiming for maximum leverage in this pre-election atmosphere were Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav.
It is no surprise considering that the so-called 'Chowkidar' exists only to help his cronies loot and scoot. This Modi was invited to be at Davos with Modi and is in the pictures, even after it was known that he had looted our banks. #NiravModi https://t.co/DTXklu6lOK " Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) March 9, 2019
¤®¥¤¦¥ ¤¸¤°¤¤¾¤° ¤¨¥ ¤¦¥¤¨¥¤ ¤¥ ¤¦¥¤¶ ¤¸¥ ¤¥¤¯¥¤ ¤¤ - ¤¾¤¯¤¾? ¤¥¤¯¤¾ ¤®¥¤¦¥ ¤¥ ¤¥ ¤¯¤¹¥ ¤¦¥¤¶¤¤¥¤¤¤¿ ¤¹¥? https://t.co/TPX3HsoMpg
" Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 9, 2019
"No comments" from Nirav Modi. "No comments" from Narendra Modi as well? https://t.co/voMEh0uZMi
" Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) March 9, 2019
The Bharatiya Janata Party has also reacted to the charges, with allegations of their own against the UPA government. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has often been critical of the Centre, has also drawn attention to the reported luxury of Nirav Modi's current life in London.
I will be addressing an important press conference in Lucknow at hotel Levana Hazratganj, today at 3:00 p.m. I will also talk about an important document 'Reclaiming the Republic' at Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall, Aminabad, Lucknow at noon today. All are welcome to attend it. " Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) March 9, 2019
Umar Khalid, who is currently charged with sedition for shouting anti-national slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in 2016, asked if there could be "greater evidence of Chowkidaar's inefficiency?"
Can there be greater evidence of Chowkidaar's inefficiency? Or should we say complicity? https://t.co/6Tqih1PgBE
" Umar Khalid (@UmarKhalidJNU) March 9, 2019
Among aspects of the Telegraph report which attracted Twitterati the most was the £10,000 jacket the diamantaire wore. It was reportedly made of ostrich hide. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was one to take note.
That ostrich hide jacket is simply hideous. " Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 9, 2019
Some of you can tell if a jacket is real Ostrich leather and it really shows. #NiravModi
" Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) March 9, 2019
NiravModi strutting down the streets of London in an ostrich leather jacket worth 10,000GBP. He's using a diff name to still trade in diamonds. The Modi govt has failed at bringing him,Choksi,Mallya-the biggest CHORS & TRAITORS back! At least wipe that grin off ur face Mr.Modi! https://t.co/SENFL0YsJt
" Zainab Sikander (@zainabsikander) March 9, 2019
Comedian Vir Das, though, went a step further and suggested a full scale Bollywood script on the saga.
How about this as a plot:#NiravModi is arrested by four undercover RAW agents. They take him to an underground room. "Mr Modi, you know diamonds, and you're already in london. If you can get the Kohinoor back, all is forgiven." Cue rock music to set up heist prep montage. " Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 9, 2019
The allegations against Modi are that the companies linked to the jeweller and his relatives received credit worth close to Rs 14,000-crore between 2011 and 2017 using false guarantees supplied by two officials of the Punjab National Bank. A Red Corner Notice was issued against him by Interpol last year.