SURATHKAL: BJP President Amit Shah today hit out at the Congress for targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his photo with scam-tainted jeweller Nirav Modi and others in Davos, calling it "cheap politics".
"Photographs mean nothing. Even you people are sitting with me and being photographed. If somebody (in the photo) does anything (wrong), will I be linked (to wrongdoing)?" he told reporters here.
Taking a jibe at the prime minister following the Punjab National Bank fraud, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said: "Being seen with the Prime Minister (in a photo at Davos) helped the businessman flee the country."
In another tweet last week, he said: "Guide to Looting India by Nirav MODI.1. Hug PM Modi, 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000Cr B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the Govt looks the other way. From1MODI2another."
Taking exception to Gandhi's swipe, Shah retorted: "What kind of talk is this? In public life, if someone is at a function, and this type of photo (is shot) and made an issue, it is cheap politics."
"It (the talk of Nirav Modi's alleged proximity to the prime minister) is completely baseless," he said.
Nirav Modi was present at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet in Switzerland's Davos which was also attended by the prime minister. TV news channels had shown a photograph of Modi with Indian business leaders, including Nirav Modi, clicked in Davos.
Shah asserted that the government had taken "strict action" in the bank fraud case.
He said assets worth more than Rs 5,000 crore were seized within three days of the fraud coming to light, and that investigation was on.
Replying to a question about the prime minister's office receiving a complaint against Nirav Modi, Shah said, "In January or February, I don't remember an FIR was registered against Nirav Modi by the bank and this is the factual position."
Nirav Modi has been accused by central government agencies of defrauding the Punjab National Bank and others of Rs 11,384 crore. He is said to be currently in the US.
The BJP president is on a three-day tour of the coastal Dakshina and Uttara Kannada districts in poll-bound Karnataka.