NEW DELHI: Opposition Indian National Congress on Monday renewed its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the absconding of diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, accused in Punjab National bank fraud case, and others including liquor baron Vijay Mallya and ex-cricket affairs boss Lalit Modi, and asserted 'collusion, connivance and collaboration' of Mr Jaitley with the accused has been exposed.
Addressing mediapersons here, former Union Minister and Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, along with AICC Rajasthan in-charge Rajeev Satav and Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev, alleged that Choksi-owned Gitanjali jewelers had engaged the Finance Minister's daughter Sonali Jaitley and son-in-law Jayesh Bakshi's legal firm, Jaitley Associates, for Rs 24 lakh.
"However, they severed the contract and returned Rs 24 lakh when Mr Choksi escaped from the country", alleged Mr Pilot.
He said that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister were attempting to save money launderers and added that "they gave them a clear path. Almost Rs 53,000 crores have been laundered. People who talk about protecting the nation have let Mallya, Nirav Modi and Choksi run away with people's money."
"The important question here is why were these fraudsters defended by the people who are connected to the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre,'' Mr Pilot asserted.
He said that Vijay Mallya, too, met Mr Jaitley before fleeing to London and added that the Narendra Modi government should answer to the nation.
Mr Pilot averred that they should reply why is the government connected to fraudsters fleeing the country.
Ms Dev said that, besides others, a complaint was received and acknowledged by Prime Minister's Office by one Mr Hari Prasad on July 26, 2016, which categorically stated that Choksi was in the process to defraud banks and flee the country.
"Between May 7, 2015 and July 26, 2016, the events occurred. And the transaction took place between Choksi's firm and Jaitley's daughter's firm in December 2017, ''Ms Dev asserted.
She alleged that during January this year, Nirav Modi, Choksi and Choksi's wife left the country.
Ms Dev added that the Central Bureau of Investaigation filed the first First Information Report on January 31, 2018 and second FIR on February 15, this year.
The Mahila Congress president said it was proved beyond doubt that Ms Jaitley's firm received 24 lacs from Choksi's company and added that "though the Prime Minister's office, Finance Minister and all investigating agencies knew that there were serious allegations against Choksi, Jaitley associates received 24 lakhs from them.
Ms Dev said that after the FIRs are filed, this Rs 24 lacs were returned to the accused person's company's account.
"What was the amount of Rs 24 lacs paid to for Jaitley's firm and why was it returned and thirdly while Prime Minister and his government is making huge moral statements in Parliament and election rallies that they are serious about taking action against fraud, why did they receive Rs 24 lakhs from Choksi's company?''
"People who owed money to Choksi and Nirav Modi deposited the funds with Government after they fled. Why did Jaitley's daughter and son-in-law redeposit Rs 24 lakh in Gitanjali Ltd's bank account instead of giving it to the government? This must be answered,'' Ms Dev added.