PNB fraud: Diamond, gold jewellery worth ₹5,100 crore seized from Nirav Modi premises

Security guards stand inside a Nirav Modi showroom during a search by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on February 15, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday that Punjab National Bank fraud–accused jewellery designer Nirav Modi was not part of the Prime Minister Modi’s delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "He was part of the CII [Confederation of Indian Industry] delegation," he asserted.

He said Nirav Modi's passport had been revoked and a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said thorough investigations would be conducted in the PNB fraud case.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said thorough investigations would be conducted in the PNB fraud case.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

 

The Enforcement Directorate has searched premises linked to billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi in Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat today. The agency filed a ₹280-crore money laundering case against Mr. Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and business partner Mehul Choksi on February 14, following a complaint by PNB.

Agency sleuths swooped down on at least 10 premises linked to the case early this morning. They searched Modi’s residence in Kurla, jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company offices in Bandra and Lower Parel in Mumbai, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.

Agency sleuths swooped down on at least 10 premises linked to the case early on February 15. They searched Mr. Nirav Modi’s residence in Kurla, jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company offices in Bandra and Lower Parel in Mumbai, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Mr. Nirav Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.

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Follow the latest updates on the issue from here:

Financial Services Secretary updates Jaitley on PNB case

The ₹11,400 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) came to light because of the government’s pressure to clean up the banking system, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said on Thursday after updating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the case.

Talking to reporters after meeting Mr. Jaitley along with senior bank officials, Mr. Kumar said the fraud transaction came to light “because of the pressure” from the government.

“If it [LoUs] was to get rolled over, it would have got rolled over this time also,” he said, adding the next roll over came to notice on January 23.

The secretary said the moment it came to notice that “it has to be rolled over, it was not rolled over. So, because of the pressure on the banks to clean up the system, they couldn’t do it and the bank itself detected it.”

On why the fraud went unnoticed for seven years, Mr. Kumar said it is a “systemic issue” and has to be looked into.

Earlier in the day, the secretary said PNB will make the required provisioning and it has “sufficient” funds for it.

“Whole lot of assets will be recovered. Nobody will be spared,” Mr. Kumar said.

He further said that the issue is an “isolated case of a single branch” and all possible action will be taken against the guilty persons.

“This is not likely to escalate to other banks. We have already frozen the case,” he said, adding all other banks have been alerted about the case.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumar, who briefed the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on Demands for Grants along with other secretaries, was also quizzed about the PNB fraud case by the lawmakers, sources said.

Diamond, gold jewellery worth ₹5,100 crore seized

The Enforcement Directorate has seized diamond, jewellery and gold worth ₹5,100 crore in searches conducted at several properties linked to Nirav Modi in Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat, the agency’s officials say.

ED officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say five properties belonging to Mr. Nirav Modi and the other accused in Mumbai are sealed by the agency. It’s now planning to move the Ministry of External Affairs with a plea to revoke his passport, the officials say.

Diamond, jewellery and gold worth ₹5,100 crore have been seized during the searches, the officials say.

No one will be spared, says BJP

Under attack from the Congress over a ₹11,400 crore scam allegedly involving designer Nirav Modi, the BJP on Thursday said no one involved in the PNB fraud case would be spared and the investigation was proceeding at a rapid pace.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also clarified that Mr. Nirav Modi was not part of the delegation to Davos led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had reached there on his own.

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Nirav Modi gave vague offers to repay money, says PNB chief Sunil Mehta

Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Thursday said Nirav Modi, who allegedly defrauded the bank of about ₹11,400 crore, has come up with “some vague offers” to repay the amount, even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) continued raids at properties connected with the jeweller designer.

The country’s second largest PSU bank has detected a $1.77 billion (about ₹11,400 crore) scam where billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoU) from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

The ED on Thursday conducted multiple searches in connection with a money laundering case against jewellery designer Mr. Nirav Modi and others following a complaint by Punjab National Bank.

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Congress targets PM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the presence of Nirav Modi in a Indian business delegation in Davos. He said "being seen with the Prime Minister helped the businessman flee the country."

"Guide to Looting India by Nirav MODI. 1. Hug PM Modi 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000Cr B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the Govt looks the other way. From1MODI2another," tweeted Mr. Gandhi moments before the Congress held a press conference on the issue.

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'Businessmen not part of PM's delegation'

Responding to the accusations about a Davos photo, government sources said that businessmen were not a part of the Prime Minister's delegation. Only the official delegation and accompanying media were part of his entourage.

 “A lot of people travel to Davos, we don't facilitate them. There was a 10-second photo-op and the Prime Minister stood for it but he left directly after. DIPP/Invest India organised the photo-op, but the Prime Minister did not meet anyone in the group,” the sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Mr. Nirav Modi (second row, fourth from left), along with other top Indian businessmen at Davos in January 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Mr. Nirav Modi (second row, fourth from left), along with other top Indian businessmen at Davos in January 2018   | Photo Credit: MEA

 

Shares of PNB nosedive

Shares of the PNB continued their free fall for the second consecutive day. On BSE, PNB shares lost nearly 8.5% during intra-day trades to touch a low of ₹133.45. At 2:15pm, the shares were trading at ₹135.35, down 7.17% or ₹10.45.

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In a letter dated February 12, to the CEOs of other banks, PNB said it was found that the SWIFT system had been misused by a junior-level branch official.

In a letter dated February 12, to the CEOs of other banks, PNB said it was found that the SWIFT system had been misused by a junior-level branch official.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

 

ED conducts searches on Nirav Modi's premises

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches on premises linked to Nirav Modi in three States, in connection with his fraudulent transactions with the PNB.

“Searches are underway at four locations in Mumbai, including Mr. Modi's office and showroom in Kala Ghodathree; in Surat; and two in Delhi,” an ED officer said.

The premises of a senior bank official was also searched.

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(With inputs from Agencies)

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 8:13:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/pnb-fraud-nirav-modi-case-latest-updates/article22761643.ece

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