New Delhi: In his most direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said that Narendra Modi is “corruption himself” since the prime minister has no time to speak about Nirav Modi case.
Speaking to national media in Shillong, Rahul Gandhi once again raised the issue of the November 2016 demonetisation of two high-value currency denominations and said the move essentially helped “all the crooks change their black money to white”.
“First Narendra Modi demonetised the economy, then he told the people of India to stand in queues in front of banks, then behind the banks all the crooks changed their black money to white,” Gandhi told India Today in poll-bound Meghalaya’s Shillong where the Congress president is on an election tour.
“Now, Nirav Modi comes along and says, ‘You know what, the money the Indian public put into banks – Rs 22,0000 crores of it – belnogs to Nirav Modi. So, Nirav Modi takes the money,” Gandhi said before going on to directly attack Prime Minister Modi.
“Mister Narendra Modi is not against corruption, he is corruption. He is the instrument of corruption,” the Congress chief said.
Gandhi’s criticism of PM Modi on the Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank fraud case is not new. But he has stayed away from using the term corrupt for the prime minister and stuck to attacking corruption on his watch.
Narendra Modi continues to enjoy a Teflon-like image in the last year of his five-year term as there has been no case of corruption in the government. The Opposition’s attempts to pin scams and scandals have failed mostly because of lack of substance.
The Nirav Modi case has come handy for the Opposition and is damning because of Nirav Modi managing to not just escape the country in time but getting to pose in a photograph of Prime Minister Modi with a group of industrialists in Davos.
The Bharatiya Janata Party continues to reiterate that Nirav Modi case is another evidence of the central government’s crackdown on corruption and Prime Minister Modi’s attempts to clean up the system.
Nirav Modi, now absconding from law, is accused of swindling more than Rs 11,400 crore from public sector banks in connivance with bank officers who issued letters of credit to his company without guarantees.
Nirav Modi however claims that the Punjab National Bank’s decision to seize his business outlets and seal his accounts has made it impossible for him to return the monies he owed to the banks.
The financial fraud case took a political turn soon after discovery as the BJP tried to blame the predecessor Congress government because the fraud had started before BJP came to power. The Congress, in turn, attacked the BJP for allowing the scam to continue for so many years.