New Delhi, February 15: The Congress party on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his office did not act against diamond merchant Nirav Modi in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. The Congress alleged that one Hari Prasad had sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office clearly mentioning about Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi’s maternal uncle, who siphoned off thousands of crores in July 2016. Choksi owns famous jewellery brand – Gitanjali jems.
The letter, written by Hari Prasad, released by the Congress said, “I would like to bring to your notice a major financial scam. This scam and fraud done by the person/company based in Mumbai involving loss of Rs 1000s of crores of Indian Public money.” The letter had all the details of the concerned person.
Hari Prasad Complaint
Prasad also enclosed the list of 31 banks extending loans to the group to the tune of Rs 9872 crore. He repeatedly asked for an action and inquiry into the same.
“On 26 July 2016, the PM was handed with all papers regarding Nirav Modi and one of his relatives. It was said that complaint had 42 FIRs. The PMO acknowledged the complaint, they also sent registrar of companies to take some action. But in the end the govt couldn’t do anything,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
Earlier in the day it was reported that Nirav left the country even before a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by the Punjab National Bank in the Rs 280 crore cheating case. This comes even as raids are being carried out by the Enforcement Directorate at 12 premises of Nirav across the country.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Home Affairs is clueless on whether Nirav has left India or not. It is in ED’s domain and immigration authorities will check, report said.
The ED registered a money laundering case in connection with the Rs 280-crore fraud in PNB allegedly by Modi and others, on the basis of a FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. On Wednesday (February 14), the CBI had received two fresh complaints from PNB against Modi and a jewellery company alleging fraudulent transactions worth about Rs 11,400 crore.
A case has been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR filed early this month. It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.
The agency, they said, would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
The CBI had booked Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017.
It had also raided the residence of Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials — Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the FIR as accused.
“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and a wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to Punjab National Bank during 2017,” the CBI FIR has alleged.
The bank had also alleged in the complaint that a fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LOU) took place on January 16, 2018 for and on behalf of the accused firms, which approached the bank and presented a set of import documents to the branch with a request to allow buyers’ credit for making payment to overseas suppliers.
The bank had also intimated stock exchange BSE about the “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions worth over USD 1771.69 million in one of its branches in Mumbai.
With inputs from PTI