New Delhi, Feb 17: As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress fired a salvo of accusations at each other over Nirav Modi’s fraudulent transactions of over Rs 11,400 crore, the CBI on Friday said that most of the fraud letters of understanding (LoUs) were either issued or renewed in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in 2017-18, an Indian Express report says. Also Read - Namami Gange Mission Most Comprehensive River Conservation Program, Says PM Modi
The CBI on Thursday registered a fresh FIR against Mehul Choksi, maternal uncle of Nirav Modi, and his three companies – Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brand – claiming that they cheated PNB of Rs 4,886.72 crore in 2017-18 through 143 LoUs issued through the bank. (Also Read: CBI Seeks Interpol Help to Nab Nirav Modi, IT Department Attaches 21 Bank Accounts) Also Read - Rare Pic: PM Modi Once Went Paragliding in Himachal's Solang Valley, Instructor Recalls The Day
The FIR names Mehul Choksi, his three companies, one managing director, 10 directors and two PNB officials and some unknown people. A total of 16 people have bee named in the FIR. The FIR alleged that Choksi also got 224 Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) through PNB apart from getting 143 LoUs issued. It also says that to avoid detection, the bank officials Shetty and Kharat deliberately omitted making entries of LoUs in the Core Banking System (CBS). (Also Read: Didn’t Ask PNB to Pay Rs 11,000 Crores to Other Banks, Says RBI) Also Read - ‘Centre's Farm Bills Will Only Help Hoarders’: Mamata Says Will Take Steps For Interest of Farmers
In the FIR, CBI claims: Accused Bank officials Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat in connivance with accused companies and directors during 2017-18 defrauded PNB to the tune of Rs 4886.72 crore in issuance of fraudulent and unauthorised LoUs in favour of foreign branches of different India-based banks and purported LCs (Letters of Credit) in favour of foreign suppliers of the accused companies.”
It should be noted that the first FIR, on January 31, alleged a scam of Rs 280.7 crore through eight LoUs also mentioned that they were issued in the year 2017. Adding more information to it, the CBI estimated the total loss in the Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank scam to be Rs 6,498 crore. The total loss was estimated to be Rs 11,400 crore. (Also Read: The ‘Diamond King’ Was Planning to Sneak Out Since 2016)
According to the CBI, Nirav Modi and his relatives had been getting the LoUs renewed. Most of the LoUs were renewed in the year 2017. The CBI, in fact, on Friday questioned four of PNB officials in connection with the multi-crore PNB scam. It should also be noted that the officials are being probed for their dealing with Modi and his companies between 2014 and 2017.
The officials include: Bechu B Tiwari, Chief Manager of the PNB’s Nariman Point Branch in Mumbai for his dealings between February 2015 and October 2017; Sanjay Kumar Prasad, DGM of PNB and then AGM of Brady House Branch for his dealings between May 2016 and May 2017; Mohinder K Sharma, then concurrent auditor for his Nirav Modi dealings between November 2015 and July 2017 and Manoj Kharat, then Single Window Operator holding office for his Modi dealings between November 2014 and December 2017, IE reports.
On Friday, February 16, the ED continued searches and raids at his various properties of Nirav Modi. The central probe agency searched 35 locations across India in a case related to fraud in PNB. Stocks of gold, diamond and precious stones worth Rs 549 crore were seized today. A day before, it had seized assets worth Rs 5100 crore. It also directed Nirav Modi’s head office that no sale or purchase should happen in showrooms in New York, London, Macau and Beijing.
The MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Nirav Modi will not be able to travel to any country as his passport has been suspended. “He will have to stay in whichever country he is living in right now,” news agency ANI quoted the MEA official as saying. “I can say with confidence that this gentleman is not in touch with any of our officials and frankly at this stage, we are not aware about his location,” he said.