With less than two weeks remaining for the all-important seven-phase 2019 Lok Sabha polls to begin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave his first election interview, speaking on a wide range of topics with Republic Media Network Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
Ranging from what he believes is necessary for a healthy democracy, such as his reasons for why the people of India will choose a government with absolute majority, to matters of national security such as the Pulwama terror attack, the subsequent IAF airstrikes on Pakistan's Balakot terror base and India's recent A-SAT success, to detailing his government's actions on corruption and fugitive absconders, the Prime Minister addressed a plethora of issues that are likely to determine the election outcome on May 23 when the vote-counting is held.
During the interview, Prime minister Narendra Modi addressed scamsters like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya and the steps that his government had taken to bring them back and hold them accountable for the public money that was looted. "They fled, why should I spare them? So we brought in a law that enabled the Indian government to confiscate property of fugitives in any part of the world. You must have seen in the case of Vijay. He owed banks Rs 9000 crore but the government has confiscated his properties worth Rs 14,000 crore across the world," the Prime Minister said.
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"Now, he is in trouble because we are taking double the amount," the PM said, adding, "All of them, take all their names. Secondly, didn't people flee previously? Didn't people flee with the country's money? Previous governments did nothing. They didn't even tell the country their names and that number is a big one. Nobody came back, nobody returned the money. There were top businessmen who used to take money from banks and then enjoy. We brought in the bankruptcy law, they've lost their companies and are now on the footpath. Their companies are in the hands of proper management now. So we have taken steps. These people are fleeing because we are taking these steps."