Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 21, 2018-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

PNB fraud: Rahul Gandhi asks PM Modi to speak up, Mamata links it to demonetisation

Rahul Gandhi even drew a link with demonetisation, saying the fraud started when the PM banned Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and “when he took out all public money and put it into the banking system”.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2018 23:31 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kolkata
PNB fraud,Punjab National Bank,Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi questioned PM Modi’s silence on one of the biggest banking scandals in the country.(PTI Photo)

The Opposition kept up the heat on the government on Sunday, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “speak up” on the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank fraud involving billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi questioned Modi’s silence on one of the biggest banking scandals in the country.

“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,” the Congress leader tweeted on Sunday.

He was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding an interaction with students ahead of annual school exams.

The Congress has said the scam is much bigger than what is being said and the government had allowed yet another person to flee the country after cheating banks.

Gandhi on Saturday even drew a link with demonetisation, saying the fraud started when the PM banned Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and “when he took out all public money and put it into the banking system”.

A day later, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, too, said the same.

“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.

Read: Punjab National Bank hit by Rs 11,400-crore fraud: Here’s what we know so far

In a surprise decision, the government had in November 2016 banned 500 and 1,000-rupee notes in a bid to curb black money and fake currency.

Banerjee has asked senior party leaders to launch a campaign in the state to tell people that the Centre was influencing banks to deprive farmers and self-help groups of small loans, while allowing the super-rich to launder money.

“We will tell people that this is how Narendra Modi is repaying his debts to industrialists who spent crores in 2014 to get Modi in power,” state agriculture marketing minister Tapan Dasgupta said.

Banerjee is one of the most vocal opponents of the Modi government and the BJP, which is looking to expand its presence in West Bengal.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha accused Banerjee of spreading lies to protect the Congress. “The scam took place in UPA regime and the government at that time let it happen. The UPA’s involvement in the scam has become evident from Allahabad Bank’s former director Dinesh Dubey’s statement.”

A former nominated director of Allahabad Bank, Dubey has said loans were granted to Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems despite his objections. A former journalist, Dubey said he was pressured into quitting the board.

Banerjee had no right to speak on corruption because several of her party’s top leaders were accused in the Saradha chit fund scandal, he said.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Saturday hit out at the Congress-led UPA, saying, ““The original sin was committed in 2011 with help of delinquent officials. Letters of undertaking with currency of 90 days were not put into the core banking system; they were with the delinquent officer who kept files under his control.”

The ruling BJP and the Congress have traded charges and blamed each other ever since the PNB lodged complaints about the fraud with the CBI.

First Published: Feb 18, 2018 15:58 IST