New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Punjab National Bank scam and said he is answerable to the nation as 90 per cent of the fraudulent transactions had taken place during his tenure.
“The PM has to come out and speak. He has to explain why this happened and how this happened. I want to know what action the PM will take,” Gandhi told reporters on Saturday after holding a meeting of the Congress Steering Committee.
Linking the scam to PM Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, he said that the scam had started on November 8, 2016.
“On that day, he (PM) took the entire nation’s money and put this into banks. Now, his friends and cronies have stolen that money from the banks,” the Congress president said, adding that such a big scam could not have taken place without the knowledge or protection of people within the government.
"PM has through his actions destroyed the finances of this country, especially with moves like demonetisation. What is he going to do now to keep the banking system safe?” he asked.
“This is a 22,000 crore scam,” he said, nearly doubling the fraud amount of Rs 11,400 crore that was revealed by the PNB to the Security Exchange Board of India on Wednesday. The bank has since then accepted that the fraud amount could be higher, but has not disclosed the exact figure.
He also questioned why the PM has not uttered a single world on the issue till now when he can find time to speak for one-and-half hours to teach children how take their board exams.
“He has sent different ministers to speak about the scam, first the social justice minister and then the defence minister. But the people who are responsible – the Prime Minister and Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) - have remained quiet,” he added.
A statement by the Congress Steering Committee also exhorted the Prime Minister to apprise the nation of complete facts about the biggest ‘Bank Scam’ instead of remaining a silent spectator.
“The PM must tell the nation as to how a fraud of this magnitude escaped the eyes of all the auditors and investigators conducting ‘statutory audit’, ‘internal audit’, ‘concurrent audit’ and even the RBI’s own audit,” it said.
The committee said that the bank scam has exposed the complete failure of ‘regulatory mechanism’ and ‘fraud detection ability’ of the banking sector and failure of oversight by the RBI and Finance Ministry.