New Delhi: The opposition parties on Sunday stepped up their attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on the Rs 11,400 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank involving billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued his onslaught and demanded that both PM Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley speak up and take responsibility for India’s “biggest bank scam”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee linked it to the PM’s demonetisation decision.
"PM Modi tells kids how to pass exams for 2 hrs, but won't speak for 2 mins on the 22,000Cr banking scam. Mr Jaitley is in hiding. Stop behaving as if you're guilty! Speak up," he tweeted.
PM Modi tells kids how to pass exams for 2 hrs, but won't speak for 2 mins on the 22,000Cr banking scam.
Mr Jaitley is in hiding.
Stop behaving as if you're guilty! Speak up. #ModiRobsIndia— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) February 18, 2018
He was referring to "Pariksha par Charcha" – a town hall session held by the PM with school children on Friday on how to combat stress before exams while raids linked to the fraud case were conducted across India simultaneously.
Gandhi’s latest salvo comes amid a heated war of words between the BJP and the Congress over how Nirav Modi managed to swindle such a huge amount over so many years and remained undetected.
The Congress has said that it was not possible without “high-level protection” while the BJP has blamed the Congress as the scam had started in 2011, when the UPA was in power. Gandhi, however, said that over 90 per cent of the fraudulent transactions had taken place during PM Modi’s tenure and he should be answerable.
Gandhi had also linked the multi-crore scam with demonetisation on Saturday, saying that the scam had started on November 8, 2016, the day PM Modi scrapped old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
A day late, Banerjee did the same, saying that the scam was just the tip of the iceberg and the big banking fraud was fuelled at the time of note ban.
“Big money laundering happened during DeMo. Key bank officials were changed. Who are these people put in? There are more banks involved. The full truth must come out,” she tweeted.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. This big banking fraud was fuelled at the time of #DeMonetisation. Big money laundering happened during DeMo. Key bank officials were changed. Who are these people put in? There are more banks involved. The full truth must come out— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 18, 2018
Banerjee has also asked party leaders to launch a campaign in the state to tell people that the Centre was allowing the super-rich to launder money and flee but depriving farmers and self-help groups of small loans.
The BJP, on the other hand, has accused the opposition of spreading lies and said the majority of transactions took place under UPA. It has also accused Rahul Gandhi of having personal ties with Nirav Modi, based on the fact that he attended a promotional event with him in 2013.