PNB hasn’t recovered any money from Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi: RTI reply

Mehul Choksi (left) and his nephew Nirav Modi (right) are accused in the over $2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud. File  

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) has neither recovered any cash nor any amount from the auction of various assets seized from fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, according to a reply given by the bank under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Choksi, the prime accused in the alleged fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking, collectively owes ₹15,423.39 crore to the public sector bank. Mr. Modi was earlier arrested in London and his extradition process is pending.

The information dated September 28, 2020, was provided to social worker Jeetendra Ghadge, whose RTI application the bank had rejected, but relented after filing the first appeal. While Mr. Modi owes ₹7409,07,25,776 (₹7,409.07 crore), Mr. Choksi has to pay dues worth ₹8014,32,41,616 (₹8,014.32 crore).

The bank had not replied to a query on the recovery of dues till the time of writing this report. The also bank refused to reveal the total assets seized from the duo.

‘It would impede the process of investigation of apprehension or prosecution of offenders that is exempted from disclosure U/S 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. Hence, the information cannot be given,” the bank said.

Another RTI application was filed seeking information on the legal expenses incurred by the PNB in pursuit of these cases. The bank refused to provide the information saying it would hamper the investigation.

Mr. Ghadge said, “The money involved in the scam does not belong to the bank, but to the people of India. Ultimately, we have lost ₹15,423 crore, which would have helped us build hospitals and other infrastructure. It is unfortunate that three years on we are unable to catch the offenders and recover the money.”

The bank did not respond to a request to comment on the RTI reply.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:06:37 PM |

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