Opposition leaders on Wednesday called diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s arrest mere symbolism ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Modi, who is wanted for allegedly duping the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000 crore, was arrested in London on Tuesday.
Congress General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked who let Modi flee the country in the first place. “Ye achievement hai? Jaane kisne diya tha? [Is this an achievement? Who let him go?]”
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party is only bringing the fugitive diamond merchant back to the country because of the upcoming elections. “They [BJP] had only helped him flee the country, now they are bringing him back,” said Azad. “They are bringing him back for the elections, they will send him back after elections.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also criticised the BJP for taking the credit for Modi’s arrest. “It’s amusing to see the BJP falling over itself to credit the PM with the Nirav Modi arrest while completely ignoring the fact that it was The Telegraph of London & it’s correspondent who found Nirav Modi, not the PM & his agencies,” he tweeted.
Modi has been living at an apartment in London’s West End, British newspaper The Telegraph had reported earlier this month. The daily said Modi lives on half a floor of the Centre Point Tower Block, in an apartment whose rent is likely to be around £17,000 per month (Rs 15.5 lakh), and which costs around Rs 73 crore.
Following the report, the Opposition had criticised the government for not being able to bring Modi back to the country, where he faces several cases. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, had said that Britain was still “considering” the extradition requests sent by New Delhi for Nirav Modi.