Renewing its attack on the Modi government on bank fraud cases, the Congress on Monday said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should be sacked as his daughter and son-in-law, both lawyers, allegedly received a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from fugitive Mehul Choksi. Addressing a press conference, Congress leaders Sachin Pilot, Rajiv Satav and Sushmita Dev also accused the government of conniving with fraudsters who had escaped the country.Â
"Arun Jaitley, being Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, his daughter Sonali Jaitley and son-in-law Jaiyesh Bakhshi proceeded to accept a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from Mehul Choksi's fraudster company Gitanjali Gems Ltd in December 2017," Pilot alleged.
"Is it not a fit case to sack Shri Arun Jaitley and conduct a full independent investigation?" he said.Â
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Pilot's statement came even as Jaitley's son-in-law had earlier stated that his law firm had returned the retainership the moment they came to know that the company was involved in a scam.
"Successive escapes of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and others reflect that Modi government is not a guardian of 'public money' but a 'travel agency' facilitating 'fraud, fleece and fly to foreign shores' of willful bank defaulters," the three leaders said in a statement.
The Congress alleged that as many as 19,000 'bank fraud cases' involving Rs 90,000 crore were reported in the 44 months till January 2018.
In a response to a query of RTI activist Chandrashekhar Gaud, the State Bank of India (SBI) said as many as 1,329 cases of fraud, involving an amount of Rs 5,555.48 crore came to light in the countryâ€™s largest bank, according to a recent report.Â
In first six months of the current fiscal year, the SBI said 669 cases of fraud amounting to Rs 723.06 crore were reported in the first quarter (April-June), while 660 cases, involving an amount of Rs 4,832.42 crore, came to light in the second quarter (July-September).
(With PTI inputs)