PNB loan fraud: I’m too busy with my business, Nirav Modi replies to CBI summon

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Nirav Modi, the man at the centre of India’s biggest banking fraud, has turned down CBI’s summons to return to India, telling the agency that he was too busy with his business abroad.

The CBI said that Modi has not shared anything with regard to his current location. Modi has been accused, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,600 crore, with Rs 1,300 crore being added to the fraud kitty two days back.

CBI had emailed the summons to Modi a few days ago, asking him to appear before it for questioning. Modi wrote back, “I have business to run here. Won’t be able to join.”

The probe is on into the Rs 11,400 crore scam, already one of the biggest in the Indian banking sector.

The state-run bank has admitted that the amount of fraudulent transactions could be Rs 1,300 crore more than the current estimate of about Rs 11,400 crore. In a filing to the BSE late on Monday night, the bank said the amount of unauthorized transactions could go up by more than Rs 1,300 crore.

As the inquiry into the biggest bank scam in India widens, more shady details continue to come out. The fear of being caught had apparently caught hold of diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle and partner, Mehul Choksi, in November 2017.

This was when new staff members joined the PNB’s Brady House branch, and raised objections over the issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LoU) and Letters of Credit (LoC) to the duo’s firms.

The duo planned their exit in November 2017 when two senior employees, who were directly authorised to issue LoUs, left the country, and the new staffers raised alarm, the Indian Express was quoted as saying.

After detecting the largest ever loan fraud in Indian history, the Punjab National Bank on Thursday said that it has the capacity to recover.

The Bank, which is India’s third largest lender, detected fraudulent transactions worth $1,771.7 million (Rs.10,000 cr) in its Mumbai branch, resulting in a sharp decline in its share prices.

In the aftermath, the PNB shares have tumbled by 20 percent this week.

“This cancer that’s been going on since 2011, we have brought it out and we are resolving it,” PNB’s Chief Executive Sunil Mehta said at a press briefing, adding that the bank would honour all its commitments.

“If the entire onus is on us, we will take responsibility,” Mehta said, adding the bank has taken action to book culprits and protect its financial interests.

Nirav Modi, a billionaire jeweller and a diamond merchant is beleived to be at the center of the fraud, the bank has informed.

The Bank has asked the accused to come up with a formal repayment plan.

Earlier Modi’s jewelry stores and other business establishments were raided by the Enforcement Directorate in Mumabi and Delhi.

Modi, who has not spoken about the case so far, could not be reached for comment. His flagship company Firestar Diamond has said it had no involvement in the case.

Meanwhile, as Modi flees the country, a blame game has began between BJP and the Congress as the ruling party says that the scam took place during UPA (United Progressive Alliance) time. On the other hand, Congress has attacked the BJP by saying that they allowed Modi to leave the country.



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