Opposition glare on Nirav photograph

Other Opposition parties joined the Congress on Wednesday in questioning the Modi government on Vijay Mallya's revelation that he had met the finance minister before leaving the country, even as there was clear evidence of headline management across television channels that are crucial to the BJP's narrative.

By Anita Joshua
  • Published 13.09.18
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Nirav Modi and others with Narendra Modi in Davos on January 23, 2018

New Delhi: Other Opposition parties joined the Congress on Wednesday in questioning the Modi government on Vijay Mallya's revelation that he had met the finance minister before leaving the country, even as there was clear evidence of headline management across television channels that are crucial to the BJP's narrative.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "PM Modi meets Neerav Modi before he flees the country. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know."

The tweet brought back memories of Nirav Modi featuring in a group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Davos on January 23, over three weeks after the diamantaire had left the country. That was the last time Nirav, who is wanted in the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud, was seen in public. The photograph, taken at a time the PNB fraud case was in the know of the authorities, had been shared on Twitter by the government.

Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who recently left the BJP and is now in the Opposition camp, said: "Not only the finance minister, the entire BJP must come clean on its relations with Vijay Mallya."

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "As with the Rafale scam and the Choksi scam, this latest revelation by Mallya puts the Modi govt in the dock. It is not the finance minister alone, we cannot be sure what other facts are being hidden even now."

The Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav weighed in with this tweet: "Entire Modi government is hand in glove with scamsters & absconders. They hatched a plot to loot hundreds of thousands of Crores. PM & FM must respond on this."

What added to the government's woes was the resurfacing of a recent tweet by one of its own MPs - Subramanian Swamy.

Screenshots were in circulation of the June 12, 2018, tweet in which he had said: "Mallya could not escape from India because of a strong Look Out Notice for him at airports. He then came to Delhi and met someone who was powerful enough to change the Notice from blocking his departure to just reporting his departure. Who was that person who dilute this LON?''

Swamy had, in any case, not deleted his tweet. And, within two hours of the first newsbreak from London on Wednesday, he retweeted a tweet quoting it with the observation: "Sometimes Swamy ji really rocks."