A video of fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi, wanted in India in a Rs. 13,000 crore alleged bank scam, freely walking down a street in London has given fresh ammo to the opposition to target the government weeks before the national elections. The government has been working to bring Mr Modi and his uncle Mehul Chokshi, another accused in the scam who now holds the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, to India to be put on trial for allegedly using fake guarantees of Punjab National Bank to secure loans overseas.
“Journalists of The Telegraph managed to track down Nirav Modi. Why was the Modi Govt unable to do so? Who is Modi trying to protect? Himself, Nirav Modi or the people who let him escape?” the Congress tweeted on its official handle.
Businessmen flying out of the country after not repaying creditors and defrauding lenders have been a big concern for the government that it even framed a new law – Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 – to punish them. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who left India in March 2016 after defaulting on multi-crore loans, was named a “fugitive economic offender” in January.
Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi left the country in January last year before the CBI started investigating the PNB scam.
In the video shared by The Telegraph, Mr Modi was seen in a pink shirt and a jacket made from Ostrich hide, which normally costs upwards of 10,000 pounds (over Rs. 9 lakh). The visible extravagance amid the storm over the alleged multi-crore fraud involving a public sector bank drew severe criticism on social media.
That ostrich hide jacket is simply hideous.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 9, 2019
मोदी सरकार ने दोनों को देश से क्यों भगाया? क्या मोदी जी की यही देशभक्ति है? https://t.co/TPX3HsoMpg
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 9, 2019
Mick Brown, the journalist who tracked down fugitive #NiravModi in London, is 69 years old; a biographer of businessman Richard Branson & writer of the book, “The Spiritual Tourist” (with a lot of India references) https://t.co/181GQFk6VO
— Shantanu N Sharma (@shantanunandan2) March 9, 2019