NEW DELHI: Soon after an acute cash crunch was reported from parts of the country, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the latter has destroyed the banking system.

Citing instance of the multi-million Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam involving celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi, the Gandhi scion said that despite the Diamond merchant fleeing with Rs 30,000 crore, the Prime Minister kept calm and maintained silence.

Taking a dig at demonetisation, the Congress chief alleged that PM Modi ceased the circulation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from the Indian markets and handed them over to Nirav Modi.

“Modi Ji (Narendra Modi) has destroyed the banking system. Nirav Modi fled with Rs 30,000 crore and the Prime Minister didn’t utter a word. We were forced to stand in queues as he snatched 500-1000 rupee notes from our pockets and put in Nirav Modi’s pocket,” said Rahul Gandhi.

Severe cash crisis has thrown life out of gear as ATMs have run dry in several states and cities including Telangana, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Vadodara, Bhopal, Patna and a few areas in Delhi.

Cash-starved customers have been queuing in large numbers outside ATMs and banks for the last few days in several cities to withdraw currency notes from vending machines, but most of them were either out of service or had a board notifying “no cash”.

Many customers also went to the bank branches but several bank officials said that the banks’ infrastructure has been unable to handle the huge rush resulting in the long serpentine queue.

Officials of several bank branches said that the banks’ infrastructure is unable to handle the huge rush resulting in long serpentine queue.

With public anger rising across the country over cash availability, some media reports quoting bank officials said that the sudden spike in number of people willing to withdraw huge amount of cash stems from the fear of ‘bail-in clause’ in the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill.