By Aditya Amir
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi has written a letter to Punjab National Bank. In a jilted lover’s tone. Nirav is unhappy PNB came too soon, put him out to dry; for Republic TV to harangue and Times Now to maul. You’ve ruined my brand in the market in your hurry, he wrote, you’ve ruined your chances of recovering your money.
TV reported Nirav was in Dubai the other day. Today in Belgium! Holed up in a friend’s pad. TV news cannot be trusted. When crap hit the fan, Nirav was in a New York hotel suite. Nirav is Jim Corbett’s man-eater. Spotted here, there and everywhere in the jungle. At the same time.
The UPA government committed the ‘original LOU sin’. It dropped the ball when the whistle first blew. It did not take specific government steps. The Ministry of Finance did not connect the dots. Banks are known for not faithfully adhering to rules for select people. There should have been consequences.
Too late. A new political dispensation took charge in 2014. It is perplexing why the Modi government running on ‘maximum governance’ could not detect the crime for nearly four years. Suspicious. Could be because of ‘minimum government’. The country is running out of flowers for the Modi government.
Nirav in his letter says PNB refused to give the six months he sought to clear the table. When was this? The date will point a finger. The problem is: this scam is getting confusing. More so because television media has got fast and loose. There must be pulls and pressures at work. Republic TV is on a tangent. It is diverting focus from Nephew Nirav to Uncle Mehul. Could it be Nirav’s surname?
The troika at Times Now has no such compunctions. CNN-News18 is for reasons its own not fully into the game. India Today TV, as always, is on the fence. It must hurt you know where. Voices on Hindi news channels are getting lost in the English din. SWIFT and Letters of Undertaking lost in the translation.
The Congress and BJP are muddying the waters. These dot connectors of different ideologies are moving in opposite directions. One points towards UPA. The other stops at the BJP’s door. The Congress, like Republic TV, is acting coy taking Nirav Modi’s name. Congress spokespersons prefer ‘Chotta Modi’. It keeps the glare on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It punctures the perception “Modi is incorruptible”.
On its part, the BJP is on a binge to link Nirav to all the rungs of the Congress leadership – Rahul to Chidambaram to Kapil Sibal to Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Covers a lot of dots but fails to connect them to a logical end – an arrow to the heart of the matter.
In all this, it is the hoi polloi who are smarting. Whoever from the 5% income tax slab had ever heard of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi must be from the diamond industry – cutting, shining; sorting! Now, the shoe has dropped. And it is Cinderella lopsided. There are millions of the great unwashed who would give their left hands for a shot at making off with such easy money. But even that is beyond belief.
Is Nirav Modi on Social Media? Does he have a twitter handle? A Facebook page? Doesn’t seem so. Otherwise, there would have been trolls on his tail morning to evening and at the dead of the night. The trolls on the Internet are busy trying to kill each other, lined up for or against Narendra Modi. Some of them are paid trolls. They are at it 9 to 5 and beyond working hours.
Nirav Modi has the luxury to sit this out. He cannot run any further. The world is after all round. Has been from Galileo’s time. At least he will get time to obfuscate and confuse. Nirav should worry more about Priyanka Chopra. She no longer thinks he is a gem of a person. Maybe he will have to palm her a diamond.
That can wait. Right now there are flames lit under his chair and there are lots of people with their hair on fire. If Nirav Modi has wronged Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, pulled a fast one on them, he is in trouble. Nirav is no angel. He wouldn’t have run if he was Gabriel. His wife and children wouldn’t have run. His uncle Choksi wouldn’t have run. They are all in it together.
Nirav Modi might get away with laying it to the PNB for premature action, going public; giving TV chance to make a song and dance, turning his entire family into fugitives. The fact is: he has pulled a fast one on the people of India, for whom hunger and poverty are forever. Nirav Modi has got himself a bad name that will outlive him. Like the diamonds he sold. Forever!