Published: Fri, February 16, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

PNB fraud: Banks refuse to buy Nirav Modi's promises

PNB fraud: Banks refuse to buy Nirav Modi's promises

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sealed the residence of Ami Modi, wife of Nirav Modi in Mumbai's Worli in connection with Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case involving her husband and businessman Nirav Modi.

Official sources said the agency sleuths swooped down on at least 17 premises of entities involved in the case early morning.

Nirav Modi had attended the World Economic Forum conference in Davos where the prime minister was also present.

Acccusing the government authorities of "sleeping" on a July 26, 2016 complaint, the principal Opposition party called it the "biggest bank loot in the past 70 years" and referred to the celebrity designer as "chhota Modi". BJP takes strong offence to the language used.

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Responding to Congress charges, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress claim has no basis, saying the behaviour of the main opposition party is "derogatory, scandalous and demeaning". Indian media carried a group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the foreground and Nirav Modi, who is no relation, grinning between rows of Indian business leaders behind him.

Until the fraud allegations sprang up, things were looking up for Modi, one of India's 10 youngest billionaires.

The complaint was shared with the CBI yesterday, they said. "However, in the end the government could not do anything".

"When Vijay Mallya ran away, there was no action against him".

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"How did the entire banking sector's Risk Management Systems and Fraud Detection Ability come to naught?" asked Surjewala.

In their regulatory filing with the BSE, the bank said that the transactions were "for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance" and that "based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers overseas". "Why so silent PM Modi?", he said. There was no meeting between Nirav Modi and Prime Minister Modi, he added.

India's Axis Bank said on Thursday that it had dealt in transactions that had been guaranteed with letters of undertaking from Punjab National Bank, but it had since sold those transactions.

Managing director of PNB Mehta said that the scam was started in 2011 and was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

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Modi, who has been enviably taciturn, is now at the centre of a massive Dollars 1.7 billion PNB scam case and wanted by the CBI. A banking consortium led by Standard Chartered Bank extended Rs 6800 worth gold to the Winsome Group, and PNB had lost Rs 1600 crore in that fraud.

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