“Is this achievement” asks Priyanka Gandhi; “Who allowed Nirav Modi to flee?”
Varanasi, Mar 20: In a veiled but bitter sarcastic jibe at the BJP-led Centre, Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday asked how can fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi's arrest in London be claimed as an achievement.
Diamantaire Nirav Modi, an accused in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, was arrested in central London on Tuesday after the Westminster Court issued a warrant against him. Ever since he was spotted in London last week, the legal process moved at quite a rapid pace.
Even before any top BJP leader could comment on the development, Congress General Secretary for Eastern Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra trained gun at the ruling government and asked "Who allowed him flee" in first place.
"Ye achievement hai? Jaane kisne diya tha? (Is this acheivement? Who allowed him to leave?)," she told reporters in Varanasi where she is wrapping up her three-day campaign in Uttar Pradesh.
Nirav Modi fled the country in the first week of January last year. Then in February 2018, his passport was cancelled by the India. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are the prime accused in the Rs. 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank scam involving fake guarantees in the name of the state-run lender to secure loans overseas.
Earlier this month, the 48-year old Nirav Modi was recently seen walking on the streets of London by a reporter of the British newspaper The Telegraph.
While the ED was accused of inaction, the agency clarified that no such formal or communication was received by the ED from UK authorities in March, 2018 or at a later date, informing that Nirav Modi was in the UK. The ED added that the National Central Bureau of Manchester, the nodal agency of the UK for dealing with Interpol notices and cooperating with other countries, had instead asked Indian agencies to "provide it" with intelligence inputs that suggested Modi was in the UK.
The extradition request for Modi could only be sent after a chargesheet was filed against him, which was done by the agency in May last year.
The ED obtained a fresh NBW against Modi from a Mumbai court after filing the chargesheet and sent it to the Interpol, which notified the "red warrant" for arrest against the fugitive diamantaire on June 29 last year, and subsequently, a fresh request for extradition was sent to the UK government, the agency said.
He was tracked down to a three-bedroom flat occupying half of a floor in an upscale tower block of luxury apartments, where rent is estimated to be around £17,000 a month, the newspaper reported.