Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Economy | By

PNB fraud: Congress accuses Modi govt of institutionalising 'crony capitalism'

PNB fraud: Congress accuses Modi govt of institutionalising 'crony capitalism'

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested three in connection with the alleged fraud in the issuance of Letters of Understanding (LoU) worth Rs. 11,400 crore from Punjab National Bank (PNB).

In the first FIR lodged against the two PNB employees Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat, and diamond merchant Nirav Modi, the fraud amount was pegged at Rs 280 crore.

Market regulator Sebi has reportedly launched a probe into trading and disclosure related issues of the state-owned bank, which has lost Rs 8,731 crore in market capitalisation in three days.

"The question is Nirav Modi has taken away Rs 22,000 crore".

The Enforcement Directorate had on Friday summoned Nirav Modi and his business partner and jewellery chain promoter Mehul Choksi in this case.

The country's largest lender SBI, however, reportedly said it has an exposure of Dollars 212 million (about Rs 1,360 crore) in respect to LoU issued by PNB to Nirav Modi, but does not have any direct exposure to the jewellery designer. Modi, who has been accused in a multi-crore banking fraud in India, meanwhile, has been spotted at a plush hotel at NY in the United States, reports said. He denied any links of his family with Modi and Choksi, and claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party was playing "cheap politics", PTI reported.

Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi are partners in Diamonds R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds, which has shops in foreign locations such as Hong Kong, Dubai, and NY. PM will have to come forward and tell the Nation as to how the scam of such magnitude happened.

"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.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Congress' chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad have been tasked by the party to speak to all like-minded parties on the issue and show them documentary evidence of the scam. It must have been known by the people in government beforehand otherwise it is not possible. "Neither my wife, sons, nor me have anything whatsoever to do with Gitanjali or Nirav Modi's companies", Singhvi said in a statement. Following this, another person one Mr. Vaibhav Khuraniya also emailed the complaint to SEBI, which was duly registered, on May 3, 2017.

The jewellery designer is understood to be a citizen of the country but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are not Indian nationals. A CBI lookout notice was also issued against Modi and his associates on January 29, but all of them had already left the country by then.

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