New Delhi: Giving out a stern warning to those involved in the Rs 11,400-crore fraud at one of Punjab National Bank's (PNB) Mumbai branches, the Centre on Thursday, said "nobody, irrespective of their status or stature, shall be spared".
Briefing media on behalf of the government, Law and Information Technology (I-T) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I wish to make it very clear and this I can also convey on the behalf of the govt that no shall be spared in the banking system who has sought to derail ordinary banking system to help Nirav Modi. This is regardless of stature and status of concerned official."
The Union minister added the government will not allow loss of taxpayers' money.
Stressing that the Enforcement Directorate and other investigation agencies have taken action with alacrity, Ravi Shankar Prasad said properties assets worth Rs 1,300 crore have already been seized and the passports have been revoked, along with circulating a look-out-notice for Nirav Modi.
He said that besides ED and CBI, the I-T department is also keeping a close watch on billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.
Terming the Congress calling Nirav Modi 'Chhota Modi' as "derogatory, shameful, scandalous and demeaning" to the Prime Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Congress using words like 'Chotta Modi' is not acceptable. BJP takes strong offence to the language used. It is derogatory."
Ravi Shankar Prasad said many in the country share the surname Modi and attributed the Congress' attack on the Prime Minister to the opposition party's "anger at its defeat" in multiple elections.
Congress leader Randeep Surjewla had at a press conference earlier on Thursday held up a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leading Indian industrialists at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland's Davos, asking how Nirav Modi was allowed to leave the country days before a first information report was filed accusing him of the massive bank fraud.
Replying to the Congress allegation on BJP on why Nirav Modi was a part of the delegation that went to Davos with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the World Economic Forum in January 2018, Ravi Shankar said, "Nirav Modi reached Davos on his own. There was no meeting with PM."
He added that Nirav Modi did not meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Davos.
Ravi Shankar Prasad also claimed that no loans given by banks under the present government have turned into NPA (Non-Performing Asset) and blamed the previous UPA-government for the bad loan menace.
The Union minister also stressed that the Narendra Modi-government has given autonomy to the banking sector....