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PNB fraud: Govt won't spare the guilty, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Agencies/New Delhi 15 Feb 18 | 06:53 PM

Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday deplored Congress for linking Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Nirav Modi by terming the latter as 'Chota Modi' (junior Modi).

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Addressing a press conference here, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "What is this word 'Chhota Modi'? The BJP takes strong offence to the kind of language being used by describing someone like that. It is derogatory, scandalous and demeaning."

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has filed two financial fraud complaints of Rs 114 billion and Rs 2.8 billion against Nirav Modi, a billionaire celebrity jewellery designer.

Earlier in the day, the Congress came with a photo featuring both the Prime Minister and Nirav taken during World Economic Forum meeting at Davos, Switzerland.

In the photo, Prime Minister Modi is sitting in the centre and in the rows of industrialists standing behind is Nirav Modi, who the Congress today christened "Chhota Modi (Little Modi)," alleging that he used clout with the government to slip out of the country.

Prasad advised the Congress to stop the photo politics.

"The Congress should stop photo politics. Many good and cosy photographs of many of the Congress leaders with Mehul Choksi are available with us, but we don't want to stoop to that level," Prasad said.

Nirav Modi's uncle Mehul Choksi is owner of Gitanjali Gems and co-accused in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) F.I.R. related to cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 2.8 billion.

The Congress also targeted Prime Minister Modi for allowing Nirav Modi to be part of the Indian business delegation at Davos.

Answering this allegation, Prasad said, "Nirav Modi did not meet PM Modi at Davos. Nirav Modi had arrived in Davos on his own and was present at CII group photo event.

Talking to reporters on the PNB fraud case, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said the bank will make the required provisioning and it has "sufficient" funds for it.

"Whole lot of assets will be recovered. Nobody will be spared," Kumar said.

The secretary further said that the issue is an "isolated case of a single branch" and all possible action will be taken against the guilty persons.

"This is not likely to escalate to other banks. We have already frozen the case," he said, adding all other banks have been alerted about the case.

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