Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday launched an attack on the Congress by levelling allegation of trying to save the fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi.

Addressing the media through a videoconference, Minister said that a Congress leader, who is a former judge, has been tasked to defend Nirav Modi in court.

“Ex-Judge Abhay Thipsay, who appeared as expert witness in Nirav Modi case, had joined Congress Party after retirement in presence of Rahul Gandhi & Ashok Gehlot. Supreme Court had transferred him from Mumbai to Allahabad just 10 months before retirement on administrative grounds,” he said.

“’When the Narendra Modi Govt has taken action against Nirav Modi and is trying to bring him back, a member of the Congress Party and a former judge has appeared as a witness in defence of Nirav Modi. Congress has always tried to save Nirav Modi,” he added.

He further claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of attending a function of Nirav Modi on September 13, 2013 after which, he added, the firms of the absconding businessman were lent loans by banks.

Nirav Modi was arrested by the Scotland Yard in the UK in March 2019 on the basis of an extradition warrant issued by an India court on charges of fraud and money laundering.

He has been denied bail five times so far. The businessman has also applied for political asylum in the UK, sources had earlier told IANS.

On December 5 last year, a special PMLA court in Mumbai had declared Nirav Modi, one of the prime accused in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank scam of 2017, as a ‘fugitive economic offender’.