The alleged scam of Rs 11,400 crore by Nirav Modi, the Indian-born diamond jewellery designer, is one of the largest scams to hit the Indian banking system. With each passing day, the case keeps taking intriguing turns.
Recently, the CBI has registered a FIR against Mehul Choksi, the maternal uncle of Nirav Modi, and his three companies on the account of swindling PNB to the tune of Rs 4,886.72 crore in 2017-18 by way of getting 143 LoUs issued through the bank.
As a matter of fact, the first FIR in the case dealing with alleged swindling of Rs 280.7 crore through eight LoUs registered by the agency on January 31 also mentions that the LoUs were issued in 2017. Adding new information to the FIR, the CBI estimated a loss of Rs 6,498 crore in the first FIR.
Thus, the figure of total loss to PNB now amounts to Rs 11,400 crore.
As per the sources, Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud Nirav Modi will be represented by advocate Vijay Aggarwal in the courts.
Due to the fact that Modi and his relatives — were rolling over the LoU money by way of getting them renewed, many old LoUs too have been renewed in 2017. A few PNB officials have been questioned by the CBI regarding the case. They are being investigated for keeping a track of their dealings with Modi and his companies between 2014 and 2017. These included Bechu B Tiwari, chief manager of the Bank’s Nariman Point Branch in Mumbai between February 2015 and October 2017; Sanjay Kumar Prasad, current DGM of the bank and then AGM of Brady House Branch between May 2016 and May 2017; Mohinder K Sharma, then concurrent auditor between November 2015 and July 2017 and Manoj Kharat, then Single Window Operator holding office between November 2014 and December 2017.
The FIR registered on Thursday against Mehul Choksi says: “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 includes the name of 16 accused, with Choksi, his three companies namely Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brand; one managing director, 10 directors and two PNB officials, among others.
It further claims that along with 143 LoUs issued, Choksi also got 224 Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) through PNB. The FIR also shows that the entries of LoUs issued on behalf of Choksi’s companies were intentionally omitted by Shetty and Kharat in order to avoid detection by the bank.
“Funds raised were meant to be used for payment of import bills of accused companies whereas it was dishonestly and fraudulently utilised for discharging the earlier liabilities on account of buyer’s credit facility by overseas branches of Indian banks,” the FIR said.