A member of Indian Youth Congress Surjeet Singh Rao tweeted an image in which BJP leader Poonam Mahajan can be seen standing with PNB Scam accused Nirav Modi.
The caption of the tweet reads "What is BJP leader Poonam Mahajan doing with absconding billion dollar fraudster Nirav Modi in UK?"
Anti Corruption Activist Anjali Damania also tweeted the image to claim that image was taken in 2018. One of our readers sent us her tweet link on WhatsApp. She deleted her tweet when several Twitter user questioned the authenticity of her claim.
The image is being shared on Facebook as well with a similar narrative.
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A simple google reverse image search revealed that this image was also tweeted by Swati Chaturvedi on Feb 20, 2018.
When we dig deeper, we found that the same image was used by businessworld.in in Nov 2017. As per the report, Nirav Modi had supported Elephant Parade India which was attended by Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall along with BJP leader Poonam Mahajan.
The official preview of Elephant Parade India was organised on 8th Nov 2017 at the British High Commissioner’s residence in New Delhi. The picture shared by Swati Chaturvedi and Anjali Damania was taken during the same event.
The picture used by businessworld.in is from the same event but from a different angle. The persons in both the pictures and their attires clearly matches which shows that both the pictures were taken during the same event from a different angle.
Poonam Mahajan, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and National President of the Bhartiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha was the Parade Ambassador. Elephant Parade India is an awareness-raising campaign aimed at drawing attention to the plight of the endangered Asian elephant whose numbers have fallen by 90% in the last 100 years. Funds raised from the parade helped to secure 101 elephant corridors across India for the endangered Asian elephant.
This event was supported by Nirav Modi and this is the reason they both attended the event and were pictured together.
The pictures were also tweeted by BJP Media Panelist CharuPragya.
As per reports, the news of PNB scam broke in the first week of February 2018. Nirav Modi left the country on January 1 weeks before the CBI received the complaint from PNB on January 29.
So, the picture of Poonam Mahajan with Nirav Modi was taken three months before the news of the scam became public and approx 2 months before Nirav Modi left the country along with his family.
No, BJP leader Poonam Mahajan was not pictured with Nirav Modi in the UK recently. The viral picture being shared on social media was captured 3 months before the news of PNB scam broke into the public domain.
Also, the picture was taken in New Delhi and not the UK.