NEW DELHI: The BJP today dubbed the PNB fraud a "UPA scam", claiming that a state-run bank was pressured to sanction loan to tainted businessman Nirav Modi in 2013 a day after Rahul Gandhi visited his jewellery exhibition.
The party questioned why the Allahabad Bank approved the loan, purportedly related to Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, though it was opposed by one of its directors, and wondered "who pressured the bank".
The BJP hit back at the opposition Congress which has accused the government of turning a blind eye to information on the alleged scam and the accused fleeing the country.
"On September 13, 2013, Rahul Gandhi visited Nirav Modi's jewellery exhibition at a hotel in Delhi and the very next day Allahabad Bank approved the loan to him, despite the fact that it was opposed by one of the bank's directors Dinesh Dubey," senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.
"Now it is for the Congress to come clean on this fraud and make it clear what is the relationship between its chief's visit to the exhibition and sanctioning of the loan," he said.
He also suspected that the bank officials were pressured by the then UPA government to sanction the loan.
Javadekar, also a Union minister, asserted that the fraud came to light when the current government decided to clean the entire banking system.
"So, it is the UPA's scam that has been brought to light by the BJP government due to its alertness.
"All the non-performing assets (NPAs), the wrongful distribution of loans, amongst others were all passed down to us by the UPA government," Javadekar said.
The entire banking system had failed during the UPA rule. The scam remained under the carpet between 2011 and 2014, and it came to light after the NDA government tightened the banking norms, he added.
The NDA government allowed all enforcement agencies to speed-up the investigation.
The government has also confiscated Nirav Modi's properties worth over Rs 5,100 crore, the BJP leader said.
BJP sources claimed Dubey was removed by the UPA government as director of the Allahabad Bank because he objected to sanctioning of the loan.