Minutes after Rahul Gandhi made to corner Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the purported 2016 'meeting' in Parliament with Vijay Mallya before Mallya absconded to the UK, a former Congress leader, Shehzad Poonawalla, has made a serious charge against Rahul Gandhi in relation to another absconding fraud-accused, Nirav Modi.
Taking to Twitter, Poonawalla claimed that the Congress president had been at Nirav Modi's cocktail party in September 2013 at New Delhi's Imperial Hotel. He wrote:
Shortly after that Poonawalla spoke exclusively to Republic TV and doubled down on his claim, saying:
"I can tell you that I'm ready to undergo any lie detector test. Rahul Gandhi and I can be placed together. We can ask each other whether we both met each other at that party. Whether he was there sipping cocktails with Mr Nirav Modi."
He went on to ask questions of Rahul Gandhi, elaborating that the event was a bridal jewellery programme, and linked it to the loans that were being cleared towards Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, which eventually resulted in the massive PNB Bank fraud coming to light in early 2018:
"Was it not true that in September 2013, at a bridal programme -- now why did Rahul need to go for a bridal jewellery programme -- he's neither married, nor has a wife to give bridal jewellery to -- but he was there at the programme, but curiously, when loans were being cleared for Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi by Allahabad Bank, by PNB Bnak and others, being red-flagged by Dinesh Dubey, yet those loans were being cleared. And only for a friend, philosopher, someone who you are close to, will you go and lend your support for a bridal jewellery programme. So Rahul was there, he was giving support to Nirav Modi nor only for the bridal jewellery, but perhaps for something more."
He then put this into the context of the Jaitley-Mallya meeting allegation:
"If Arun Jaitley meeting was seen by PL Punia, then I am witness to this meeting between Rahul Gandhi and Nirav Modi. More importantly, Manmohan Singh on record met Vijay Mallya. If that isn't a meeting then the meeting and Vijay Mallya accosting Arun Jaitley is a meeting, then I can tell you that Rahul Gandhi came with SPG to meet Nirav Modi at the Imperial Hotel while loans were being cleared. If I am lying, I am prepared to leave politics, I am prepared to take a lie-detector test as well.
Poonawalla then linked the matter to the NPA problem being faced by Indian banks:
"The reason is all NPAs, given to Mallya, Nirav Modi or Choksi, were given in UPA time. Entire NPA problem was a creation of UPA. UPA is the friend philosopher guide of NPAs in India."
"Because they gave these loans to Mallya and don't want to answer kitna Maal-liya, they're deflecting."
He posed questions to the Congress president:
"I want to ask Rahul, just like you met Nirav Modi, who else did you meet in London? Did you also go to Vijay Mallya's parties?"