Congress on Saturday hit out at the government over a media report that PNB scam accused Nirav Modi was living in a swanky apartment in London and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was running a "fraudster settlement yojana" for such fugitives.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, taking to Twitter, took a swipe at Prime Minister Modi saying that the recent video of Nirav Modi in the UK shows an "uncanny similarity" between the two as both "believe they are above the law".
The opposition party also alleged that fugitives had looted Rs. 1 lakh crore from Indian banks but not even one of them had been caught during the five years of the Modi government.
The scathing attack on the government came after British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Nirav Modi, wanted in India in the Rs. 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, has been living openly in a swanky 8-million pound apartment in London's West End and is running a new diamond business just yards away. The daily also released a video of Nirav Modi at a street in London.
"The video of fugitive #NiravModi in London shows an uncanny similarity between him & his bhai, PM Modi. Both have looted India and are called Modi. Both refuse to answer any questions. Both believe they are above the law. Both will face justice," the Congress chief tweeted.
The government said Saturday the UK is still considering the request to extradite Nirav Modi and India is taking all steps necessary for his extradition.
Facing flak from the Congress after Nirav Modi was spotted in London, the ruling BJP hit back saying he began his fraud in 2011 when the UPA dispensation was in power and that the Modi government detected and exposed it.
Targeting the BJP, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: "Fugitive Nirav Modi has been seen enjoying in London, living in a Rs. 75 crore flat and wearing a 10,000 pound jacket,"
"First loot Rs. 23,000 crore from banks, then run away from the country without any checks, mock the CBI and the ED, and then make a comfortable home in a Rs. 75 crore flat. Modi is there, so it is possible," he claimed.
It seems Prime Minister Modi is running a "bank fraudsters settlement company" for the likes of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, Mr Surjewala alleged.
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram also hit out at the government over the issue.
"When Lalit Modi stayed on in the UK, I wrote to the UK Chancellor that he should be sent back to India. Mrs Sushma Swaraj mocked me for writing letters," he said in a tweet.
"Now Nirav Modi is walking on the streets of London. Will Mrs Sushma Swaraj swoop down, pluck him off the street and bring him back to India?" he said in another tweet.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said it is another instance in which the Modi government has proved that "their slogan 'Modi hai toh mumkin hai' (It''s possible if there is Modi) is correct for fraudsters".
"The country is now a witness to the 'Narendra Modi fraudster settlement yojana'," she said.
"How in 2014, PM Modi had promised the return of Rs. 80 lakh crore of black money to India and Rs. 15 lakh back in the accounts of every Indian, but instead he has ensured Rs. 1 lakh crore honest taxpayers'' deposits are now being freely used by these fraudsters to lead a luxurious guilt free life in foreign shores," she told reporters.
Ms Chaturvedi also alleged that Prime Minister Modi had "complete knowledge" of Nirav Modi's dealings.
"Yet, PM Modi stayed silent and turned a blind eye. India will never forget the Rs. 26,306 crore PNB scam...and how these fugitives were given ''a free pass to flee India''," the Congress leader said.
"The poster boy of this scheme, Chotta Modi aka Nirav Modi, has been found having fun in London -- a free bird -- wearing an ostrich hide jacket that has an approximate cost of 10,000 pounds and living in a posh London apartment, occupying half of a floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, with views across London," she said.