Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of helping fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi escape the country and alleged that the minister's daughter and son-in-law received retainership fees from the businessman. His party has demanded that Mr Jaitley resign on moral grounds.
"Arun Jaitlie's daughter was on the payroll of thief Mehul Choksi (sic). Meanwhile her FM daddy sat on his file & allowed him to flee," Mr Gandhi tweeted today. He also cited an account number, from which, he said, Mr Jaitley's daughter had received funds.
Mr Jaitley's son-in-law has issued a statement saying his law firm had returned the retainership the moment they came to know that the company was involved in a scam.
The Congress questioned why Mr Jaitley's daughter and son-in-law redeposited the amount in the account of a company that defrauded banks and people of Rs 26,306 crore.
This is the latest attack in the ongoing war of words between the Congress president and the finance minister. Last week, Mr Jaitley had called Mr Gandhi "a clown prince out-clowning himself" after the latter accused him of meeting fugitive businessman Nirav Modi.
At a press conference today, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and lawmakers Rajiv Satav and Sushmita Dev said Mr Jaitley's daughter and son-in-law received a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from Gitanjali Gems in December 2017. Alleging a conflict of interest, Mr Pilot asked why no investigation agency has summoned them yet.
"In the 44 months till January 2018, the government witnessed an unprecedented 19,000 bank fraud cases involving Rs 90,000 crore," Mr Pilot said.
"Successive escapes of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and others reflect that the Narendra Modi government is not a guardian of public money but a travel agency enabling willful bank defeaulters to fraud, fleece and fly to foreign shores," the three leaders said in a statement.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'New India' slogan, Mr Pilot said, "A sinking economy, banking frauds and flying fraudsters form part of BJP's 'New India'"
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