Most Of Nirav Modi’s Fraud LoUs Issued In 2017-18, Says CBI FIR
According to the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Rs 11,360 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi happened between 2017 and 2018, as opposed to the claims made by BJP spokesperson and ministers that the scam started back in 2011, i.e., during the UPA regime.
The FIR has been filed against four PNB officials who served during this period.
[Read the FIR here.]
The incident came to light when PNB filed a criminal complaint on January 31 with the CBI against three companies Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamond R US, and four people, including billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the managing director of Gitanjali Gems, reporting they defrauded the bank and caused a loss of Rs 280 crore ($43.8 million). The bank alleged that the companies managed to get Letter of Understandings (LoU) without having a sanctioned credit limit or maintaining funds on the margin.
In the fresh FIR registered with CBI on February 13, the loss was estimated to be Rs 4886.72 crore. It is one of the two complaints, the total amount of estimated loss came to around Rs 11,300 crore. The rest of the loss is in the FIR filed on January 31.
Two separate complaints are registered by CBI. The fresh FIR involves 143 LoUs, in addition to the 150 Los which were mentioned in the FIR filed on January 31.
Four employees of PNB are being questioned.
They include, as reported by News18, Bechu Tiwari, the Chief Manager of Nariman Point branch from February 2015 to October 2017. Sanjay Kumar Prasad, the Deputy General Manager who was the Assistant General Manager at Braddy House branch between May 2016 and October 2017. Mohinder Kumar Sharma, the Concurrent Auditor from November 2015 to July 2017, and Manoj Karat who was a Single Window Operator from November 2014 to December 2017.
The arrested officials said on Saturday that Nirav Modi’s team was given “unauthorised access” to PNB’s computer system for a “commission” on every LoU, informed a probe agency source, according to Business Standard.
Manoj Karat and Gokulnath Shetty have been mentioned in the FIR as accused. Gokulnath Shetty remains absconding. His house was raided by the police three times, and his wife and brother were also questioned.
The officials of the state-run bank alleged that Nirav Modi’s brother was called at its branch office where he declined to return the money, saying they did not have the funds then.
When the bank officials insisted to pay back, the Nirav Modi’s brother allegedly remarked, “Do whatever you want,” reported India Today. It was only then that the bank officials formally lodged a complaint with the investigating agency.
Nirav Modi’s chief financial officer Rabi Gupta has also been called for questioning in Mumbai.
The CBI also raided 21 locations, including residences of Nirav Modi, Nishal Modi, Mehul Chowksi and two PNB officials. Diamonds worth crores were allegedly seized during the raids, which were later deposited with the ED officials.
BJP-Congress Blame Game
BJP and Congress blamed each other for the PNB scam. Congress went on to call Nirav Modi “Chota Modi”, this was met with criticism from BJP, calling it “derogatory, demeaning, shameful, utterly irresponsible and scandalous.”
Congress also released a photograph showing Nirav Modi with the business delegation accompanying PM Modi to Davos at the World Economic Forum last month.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad countered allegation made by Congress by saying that the scam started 2011 when Congress was in power. He also claimed that Rahul Gandhi attended an event organised by Chowksi in 2013. Commenting on the photo of Niral Modi with the PM, Prasad said “I wish to deny this with full authority. No personal meeting (of Nirav) with the prime minister took place.”
- PNB Scam: Reports Show Rs 3000 Cr Additional Fraud From 17 Other Banks; SBI Reports Exposure Of Rs 1,360 Cr
- Nirav Modi Paid Rs 48 Crore As Penalty In 2016 For Smuggling Consignments
- PMO Was Informed Of The PNB Scam In 2016, FIR Shows Scam Took Place In 2017 Too
- After Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi Leaves India After Allegedly Swindling Rs 11,360 Cr From PNB
- Know How The PNB Scam Was Pulled Off