PNB Fraud: CBI Intensifies Probe as Oppn Trains Guns on Modi Govt
Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 11,400 crore at Punjab National Bank.
Nirav Modi is the main accused in an alleged fraud of over Rs 11,400 crore at Punjab National Bank.(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/NIRAVMODIjewels)

PNB Fraud: CBI Intensifies Probe as Oppn Trains Guns on Modi Govt

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One of India's Biggest Banking Frauds Detected

In a big jolt to the Indian banking sector, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) received two complaints from Punjab National Bank (PNB) against Nirav Modi, alleging fraudulent transactions to the tune of Rs 11,292 crore. In a statement, PNB said it has detected fraudulent and unauthorised transactions "for the benefit of few select account holders with their apparent connivance". The bank suspended 10 officials in connection with the case – and referred the matter to the CBI on 14 February, ANI reported.

These two complaints come just a few weeks after an alleged fraud of Rs 280 crore was reported against Modi and others in January. The CBI had registered an FIR in the case on 31 January. However, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) acted on that complaint soon after the two fresh complaints were received by the CBI. On Wednesday, the ED registered a money laundering case against the billionaire jeweller.

ED Conducts Multiple Raids

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, 15 February conducted multiple searches in connection with the earlier alleged fraud of Rs 280 crore.

Below is a list of places that were raided.

(Photo: Poonam Agrawal)

Also Read : Nirav Modi: Meet the Man at the Centre of Rs 11,000 Cr PNB Fraud

Official sources said agency sleuths swooped down on at least nine premises of entities involved in the case early on Thursday morning.

The premises raided by the ED include Modi's residence in Kurla, his jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company locations in Bandra and Lower Parel, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi's showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.

The ED had filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR registered early this month. It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.

Also Read : PNB Fraud: ED Files Money Laundering Case Against Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi Flees India

Government sources on Thursday, 15 February told CNN-News18 that Nirav Modi, the main accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) Rs 11,300 crore scam, has left India.

Twitter was abuzz with news of Modi fleeing before any action could be taken against him.

Activist Tehseen Poonawalla claimed that Modi was informed of the trouble brewing beforehand, and so he fled the country before the FIR was filed.

Modi reportedly fled the country by the end of January – before the CBI lodged an FIR against him on 31 January. Some reports suggested that he is in Davos, others said he was he in New York City.

Also Read : Nirav Modi Case: How a $1.8 Bn Fraud at PNB Was Detected

Nirav Modi Reportedly Seeks 6 Months Time to Repay Loan

Nirav Modi has reportedly sought 6 months time from PNB to repay the loans, India Today reported. Sources have told the TV channel that he will sell the brand to repay the loan.

PNB Case: RBI, Sebi to Seek Help from Hong Kong Regulators

The Reserve Bank and the Sebi are likely to approach their counterparts in Hong Kong for cooperation in the matter relating to the whopping over Rs 11,000 crore fraud at public sector lender PNB where several entities have come under the scanner, officials said.

The regulators are set to spread their net overseas as it has been found that credit was availed from various bank branches in Hong Kong on the basis of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by Punjab National Bank.

PNB Cautions Other Banks About Modus Operandi of Fraud

Hit by a Rs 11,400 crore fraud, state-owned Punjab National BankBSE -6.82 % (PNB) has cautioned other banks about the modus operandi of the scam.

"It has been reported through a preliminary investigation that the suspected fraud has been carried out by the perpetrators in collusion with the staff of one of the our branches in Mumbai," PNB said in a letter sent to various banks, including those from the private and public sector as also to foreign lenders.

Congress to Hold Press Conf on Nirav Modi at 2 pm

The Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted saying that his party would be holding a press conference at 2 pm on the PNB scam.

Nirav Modi is at the centre of an alleged Rs 11,400-crore fraud at the state-run Punjab National Bank. After the bank disclosed the scam on 14 February, the CBI launched a multi-pronged probe into the case. Meanwhile, the Opposition launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, accusing it of complicity in letting the diamond merchant flee the country.

Snapshotclose

  • On Monday, PNB’s Brady House branch was sealed
  • Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the BJP’s top leadership was involved in the scam
  • The CBI on Saturday arrested three in connection with the alleged fraud, including two former PNB officials
  • Officials said Modi and his family fled India in the first week of January, days before the first complaint was filed
  • The CBI registered an FIR against Gitanjali CMD and Modi’s partner Mehul Choksi
  • Passport issuing authority suspended the validity of Modi’s and Choksi’s passports

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KEY EVENT

PNB Addresses Media on 'Nirav Modi-Rs 11,000 Crore Fraud' Case.

In a press conference Punjab National Bank (PNB) MD Sunil Mehta told reporters:

We were the first to detect the scam and to alert the law enforcement agencies. We are already talking to other lenders. If after investigation, it is found out that PNB bears the sole responsibility then the onus will be on us. Based on our complaints the ED has raided several properties of the accused. We have not only filed a complaint against the customers but the staffers and supervisors involved. We want to assure you that we will not allow for any illegal activities to happen. PNB is committed to clean banking.

“PNB has capability and capacity to deal with situation arising from Nirav Modi fraud case,” Mehta said.

He said the scam was internally detected around the third week of January 2018. Subsequently, a complaint was lodged with the CBI on 29th January.

Regarding reports of Nirav Modi offering to repay the loan in 6 months’ time, Mehta said that the accused hasn’t made any concrete offers yet.

Also Read : Nirav Modi Case: CBI, SEBI & PMO Were Apprised of the Scam in 2016

Blame Game Begins

In the press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “How can Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi dupe the entire banking system through forged Letters of Understanding under the nose of Modi government? Who is responsible for biggest bank loot scam unleashed by chhota Modi (Nirav Modi)?”

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also criticised the ruling government over Nirav Modi’s fraud.

Responding to the allegations levelled against the Modi government in the PNB scam, MoS Finance SP Shukla said, “We were not in govt in 2011, if Congress is making allegations, were they sleeping from 2011-14? They should've probed it. This govt is taking cognizance of matters & probing them. Congress' was a government of scams and they established these scamsters.”

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too blamed the UPA for the fraud. "This happened in their tenure. The allegations are coming out now. This is coming out as it is their (UPA's) gift. We will definitely take action. This has not happened in (20)14," she said.

Nirav Modi's Family Fled Following His Departure: Official Sources

Nirav Modi's brother Nishal Modi, a Belgian citizen, also left India on 1 January. Nirav Modi's wife, who is an American citizen, left India on 6 January and Mehul Choksi fled on 4 January, official sources told news agency ANI.

CBI had issued look out circulars against all accused on 31 January.

A total of 150 look out circulars were issued to Nirav Modi by the PNB as per the complaint filed to CBI.

Also Read : Nirav Modi Fled India With Family a Month Before First Complaint

Mamata Demands Time Bound Probe

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a thorough and time bound investigation into the fraud in state-owned Punjab National Bank. She said that a scam of over 11,000 crore has taken place and the people's savings are not safe.

Priyanka Chopra Seeks Legal Option on Nirav Modi

In 2017, Priyanka Chopra came on board as the global ambassador for Nirav Modi diamond campaign with Sidharth Malhotra. More trouble is coming Modi’s way with Priyanka Chopra is mulling suing him for non-payment of dues and detaching herself from the brand. She has alleged that he has not paid the amount that was agreed upon.

Sources suggest that she had severed ties with Modi over the defrauding.

Also Read : After PNB Fraud, Priyanka Chopra Sues Diamond Czar Nirav Modi 

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Addresses a Press Conference

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hits out at the term 'Chotta Modi' being used to hint Nirav Modi's links with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"This comparison is derogatory," Prasad said. “Nirav Modi did not meet PM Modi at Davos. Nirav Modi had arrived in Davos on his own and was present at CII group photo event,” he added.

On the picture of Nirav Modi with the PM during World Economic Forum in Davos, the law minister said:

Congress better stop playing the politics of photos, we have many such photos of Congress leaders with tainted businessmen. We don’t want to stoop to their level.

CBI Questions PNB Officials

The Central Bureau of Investigation questioned Punjab National Bank bank officials in connection with the Nirav Modi fraud case but no arrests have been made yet, ANI reported. On Wednesday, the bank had suspended 10 officials from its Mumbai branch.

In his press briefing, Union Minister RS Prasad said, "No one in the banking system who has helped Nirav Modi shall be spared. No matter what designation the person hold, we will take strict measures."

The PNB handed over a list of 150 Letters of Undertaking to the CBI which were fraudulently issued to transfer money to firms associated with Nirav Modi.

Also Read : PNB Scam: Meet Mehul Choksi, Jeweller Nirav Modi’s Alleged Partner

PNB Loses Rs 8,000 Crore Market Capital in Two Days

Stung by a massive Rs 11,400 crore fraud, state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) has lost over Rs 8,000 crore of market valuation in two days — an amount equivalent to over six-times its full-year profit.

PNB on Thursday extended its fall for the second straight session and ended the day 12 percent lower at Rs 128.35 on BSE. The stock had fallen 10 percent on Wednesday, after the lender said it had detected a Rs 11,400 crore fraud at a Mumbai branch.

KEY EVENT

Assets Worth Rs 5,100 crore Seized by ED, 6 Properties Sealed

Diamonds, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore were seized by the Enforcement Directorate from the properties of Nirav Modi during their searches on Thursday, PTI reported.

Six of his properties in Mumbai were also sealed. The searches are conducted in 17 premises across India.

Also Read : Nirav Modi Case: Agency Sleuths Were Apprised of the Scam in 2016

ED Seeks Revoking Nirav Modi's Passport

The Enforcement Directorate wrote to External Affairs Ministry to revoke passports of billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi, officials told PTI.

Diamonds Bought From Local Market in Cash, Not via LoUs: PC Jewellers

As its shares got hammered in the aftermath of India's biggest bank fraud, PC Jeweller on 15 February, said that the company does not use letter of credit/letter of undertaking in business transactions and buys all diamonds from local markets via cash transactions.

The BSE had sought clarifications from the company after its share prices slumped nearly 20 percent to Rs 303 apiece in early trade. The share ended the day at Rs 356.40, down 5.31 percent.

The company does not use the instruments of LUT/LOC (Letter of Undertakings/ Letter of Credit) etc in its business transactions. The company does not have any international transactions in diamonds. It procures all its diamonds from local markets on cash basis only. 
PC Jeweller said in its regulatory filing

It assured investors and shareholders that the fundamentals of the company remain strong and it continues to move ahead as per its laid down business plans.

CBI Seeks Revocation of Passports of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

The CBI has sought revocation of the passports of billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi, who are the main accused in alleged fraudulent transactions of over Rs 11,400 crore through 150 letters of understanding issued by the Punjab National Bank, officials said.

The delay in filing of complaint by the bank left limited options for the agency with one of them being revocation of proceedings, they said.

ED Issues Notice to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi

The Enforcement Directorate issued notices to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi asking them to depose within a week's time.

The notices were handed over to the directors of the firms of the two businessmen as they were not in the country.

While Modi runs the jewellery brand chain under his name, Choksi is the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.

Interpol's diffusion notice has been issued against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi.

This is less formal than a notice, but is also used to request the arrest or information on the whereabouts of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation. A diffusion is circulated directly by an National Central Bureaus (NCB) to the member countries of their choice, or to the entire Interpol membership and is simultaneously recorded in Interpol’s Information System.

18 Employees Suspended

Eight more employees of the Punjab National Bank have been suspended, taking the total number of suspended employees to 18. General Manager level officers have also been suspended.

An internal investigation by the bank is still underway.

Nirav Modi Made Fraudulent Transactions Through 150 LoUs

Nirav Modi allegedly made fraudulent transactions of over Rs 11,400 crore through 150 LoUs issued by the Punjab National Bank, The Economic Times reported.

Axis Banks Says it Sold Down Loans Guaranteed by PNB

Axis Bank, on Friday, 16 February, said it has sold down all loans given against the letter of undertakings issued by Punjab National Bank, as per a report on The Economic Times.

FIR Against Mehul Choksi

CBI has registered an FIR against the CMD of Gitanjali Group of companies of Mehul Choksi based on complaint filed by PNB dated on 13 February 2018.

Three companies under Choksy that are named in the FIR are – Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brand Ltd.

The fresh FIR involves 143 LoUs and 224 Foreign letters of credit.

CBI Raids Six Locations Related to Gitanjali Gems

The CBI began a raid across six cities on properties related to Gitanjali Group of companies on 16 February.

The searches being conducted in Maharashtra's Mumbai and Pune, Gujarat's Surat, Rajasthan's Jaipur, Telangana's Hyderabad and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

CBI Hunts for Missing Gokulnath Shetty

CBI has reached the Malad residence of former PNB Deputy Manager Gokulnath Shetty, who is an accused in the PNB fraud case. Shetty has been untraceable since the past few days.

Shetty, along with another bank official, has been accused of conspiring and sending unauthorised LoUs and Foreign Letters of Credit to overseas branches of Indian banks for release of funds to accused companies' suppliers or to clear liabilities of accused companies.

Also Read : PNB Scam: Meet Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi’s Uncle & Alleged Partner

Validity of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi's Passports Suspended

On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority has suspended validity of passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks, the MEA said in a statement.

Modi and Choksi have been asked to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked. If they fail to respond within the stipulated time, MEA will go ahead with the revocation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED on 15 February, moved separate applications to the external affairs ministry seeking the revocation Nirav Modi's passport as well as that of his maternal uncle and his business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain. Both are accused in the Rs 280 crore bank fraud case.

SBI Discloses $212-Mn Exposure Through PNB

Country's largest lender SBI said it has an exposure of USD 212 million (about Rs 1,360 crore) in respect to letter of undertaking issued by Punjab National Bank to Nirav Modi, but does not have any direct exposure to the absconding jewellery designer.

"We don't have any direct exposure on Nirav Modi but we do have some exposure on Punjab National Bank," State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters.

He said the bank has lent USD 212 million to Modi on the basis of LoU issued by PNB.

Kumar, however, said the bank has some exposure to Gitanjali Gems, owned by Mehul Choksi, uncle of Nirav Modi.

“Our exposure to Gitanjali is small we and we are not worried,” Kumar said.

Rahul Gandhi Tweets New 'Scamster's Escape Formula'

Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted a new formula called the ‘Scamster’s Escape Formula’, taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s government.

PM Modi's 'Udaan' Scheme has a New Meaning Now: Congress

Alleging that the PNB bank fraud was could go up to Rs 30,000 crore, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Narendra Modi’s government had given a new meaning to the word ‘Udaan’.

If all the layers of this scam are opened up, the scam will go up to Rs 30,000 crore. Modi government’s new buzz word ‘Udaan’ has found a new meaning - ‘every scamster can flee & fly undetected & unchecked.

PNB Considers Monetising Assets worth Rs 50 bn

Punjab National Bank source says bank considering monetising its real estate assets, including office space in Delhi worth over 50 billion rupees, reported Reuters.

CBI Investigates Companies Named in India

According to ANI, the three main companies named in the FIR have 36 subsidiary companies. Out of those 36 companies, 17 are in Mumbai, 1 in Hyderabad and rest of the companies are located out of India.

The companies in India are being investigated by CBI today. Apart from these companies, the CBI has also been investigating the following officers from PNB:

1.Bechu B Tiwari- Chief Manager, Nariman Point
2.Sanjay Kr Prasad- DGM current , Then AGM, Brady House
3.Mohinder kr Sharma - Chief Manager Zonal audit office, then concurrent auditor
4.Manoj Kharat- Single Window Operator

Scam Began in UPA Regime: BJP

Addressing a press conference on the Nirav Modi scam, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the scam had originally started in 2011, at a time when the country was under the UPA regime. He said that the it was the BJP regime which had brought the scam into light.

The scam which has come into light is a scam of the UPA Govt. This started during UPA’s reign in 2011. It is the alertness of the NDA govt which has brought this scam into light. All the NPAs, the wrongful distribution of loans, amongst others were all passed down to us by the UPA Govt. This is a scam by the bank & not the government. 

Javadekar added that the BJP government had acted swiftly in light of the scam by revoking the passports of the defaulters as soon as the matter had come into notice.

He further blamed the UPA regime by stating that when the irregularities were brought into light earlier, the Finance Secretary under the UPA regime had instead forced Dinesh Dubey to resign.

Finance Secretary during UPA’s regime, instead of taking action, forced Dinesh Dubey to resign. We are asking who pressurised the Foreign Secretary to pressurise Dinesh Dubey?

"Met Dinesh Dubey Once in My Life": Former Banking Secretary

Speaking to ANI, Rajiv Takru, former banking secretary said that he had met Allahabad Bank’s ex-Director Dinesh Dubey only once in his life.

I met this person only once in my life. He had come to my office to resign in 2013. Reason behind resignation was that he was unhappy over something. I accepted his resignation. I have never spoken to him.

We Don't Know Where Nirav Modi Is: MEA

Addressing a press conference on the absconding Nirav Modi, who has allegedly fled out of India, Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for MEA said that the fugitive diamantaire will remain where he is once his passport is suspended.

Woh jis country mein hain wahi rahenge, passport suspend hone ke baad woh kahi nahi ja sakte. (In whichever country he is, he will remain there once his passport is suspended. He cannot go anywhere else.)

He further added that the Ministry was unaware of his location, and were yet to trace him down.

Total Amount Under Investigation is Rs 11,384.72 crore

According to the CBI, the first FIR registered in the case amounted to Rs 280 crore, which has now increased to Rs 6,498 crore.

Apart from this a separate second FIR was registered in relation to the case late Thursday night, amounting to Rs 4,886.72 crore.

The total amount under investigation now stands at Rs 11,384.72 crore.

ED Registers New Case Against Nirav Modi

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday registered another case against Nirav Modi.

The agency also raided 35 new locations and conducted searches covering 11 states. Diamonds and gold worth 549 crore were also seized.

The total amount under investigation was calculated at Rs 5,649 crore (including Thursday’s recovery). Around 29 immovable properties were also identified by the agency.

the ED has also directed Nirav Modi’s head office that no sales or purchases can happen in the New York, London, Macau and Beijing showrooms.

Nirav Modi, Choksi to Appear Before ED on 23 Feb: Sources

Quoting ED sources, ANI reported that Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have been summoned by the agency to appear before its Mumbai office on 23rd February.

PNB Will Take Appropriate Action: RBI

Debunking earlier reports that suggested that the RBI had directed PNB to meet its commitments under the LoUs to other banks, the central bank denied it had given any such directions.

The RBI said:

It’s case of operational risk arising on account of delinquent behaviour by one or more employees of the bank & failure of internal controls. RBI has already undertaken supervisory assessment of control systems in PNB & will take appropriate supervisory action.

Copy of the Second FIR Lodged on Thursday

FIR Against Gokulnath Shetty, One Other

An FIR has been registered against 2 PNB officials- Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat in Mumbai stating that they, in connivance with the accused companies, defrauded PNB to the tune of $754.92 million.

Gokulnath Shetty, Manoj Kharat Arrested

As the EC continued raids at Gitanjali Gems’ showrooms in different cities on Saturday morning, the CBI arrested PNB’s former Deputy Manager, Gokulnath Shetty, Single Window Operator, Manoj Kharat, and Authorised Signatory of the Nirav Modi Group of Firms, Hemant Bhat.

All three will be produced on Saturday before the CBI special court in Mumbai. The CBI said that investigation in both the cases and examination of others is continuing.

'We Are Cleaning Congress' Mess': Nirmala Sitharaman

Continuing the government’s stance on the Nirav Modi’s scam, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the BJP was cleaning what was ‘Congress’s mess’.

“The entire might of the government has been invoked to pin the culprit Nirav Modi in the fraud case immediately after it came to light”, Sitharaman said, adding that though Nirav Modi might have left the country, the government was going to take action against him.

'Wife of Congress Leader is a Shareholder', Alleges Sitharaman

Addressing a press conference on the Nirav Modi fraud case, Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman alleged that the property which houses Fire Star Diamond International Pvt Ltd belongs to one Advait Holding Ltd, where Anita Singhvi is a shareholder since 2002.

Anita Singhvi is the wife of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.

And also has Avishkar Manas Singhvi, possibly his son. But wife of one of the senior Congress leaders is here as a property shareholder, she is a director by designation.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

My Wife, Sons Have Nothing to Do With Nirav Modi Companies: Abhishek Singhvi

Rebutting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s earlier allegations, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said that the Raksha Mantri and her collegues were ‘liable to civil and criminal defamation for making ignorant and patently false allegations.’

I reserve my rights to take all such appropriate legal action against the latter and all parts of media which carry such allegations.

Adding that whatever Sitharaman had said was false, Singhvi clarified that neither his wife nor his sons have anything to do with Gitanjali or Nirav Modi’s any other companies.

The company was a tenant of a Kamla Mills property owned by Adwait holdings in which my wife and sons are a director. Adwait Holding owns a commercial property at Parel, as it does elsewhere, which was rented by Firestone many years ago. Neither Adwait nor my family has any interest with Modi or Firestone. Firestone vacated Parel Kamla Mills premises in December 2017.

3 Arrested PNB Officials Produced in Special CBI Court

The CBI produced the three arrested PNB officials before a Special CBI court on Saturday.

3 Arrested PNB Officials in Police Custody till 3 March

Special CBI Court sends all three PNB Officials in police custody till 3 March.

Speaking to ANI, Kudrat Sheikh, the lawyer of Manoj Kharat said:

The Court had sent them under 14 days police custody. Manoj Kharat was just a clerk & typed letter under pressure from Gokulnath Shetty. He has no role in the case, we’ll file bail application.

IT department also attached 9 bank accounts of Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali Gems and others as part of its tax evasion probe.

The ED has conducted searches at 21 locations across India in Nirav Modi case and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones and jewellery worth Rs 25 cr. The agency said that total seizure in Nirav Modi case is Rs 5674 crore till now.

Watch: Congress Addresses Media on Nirav Modi Fraud Case

Addressing a press conference on the unfolding Nirav Modi fraud case, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the over 367 LoUs in the scam were issued under the BJP government.

The list of LoUs sums up to 367 that were issued under BJP government. Why didn’t the PM or RBI take action based on these alarming transactions?

"Why Are PM Modi, Jaitley Silent on Nirav Modi?" Rahul Gandhi

After chairing the first meeting of the party's Steering Committee, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s silence on the Nirav Modi fraud case.

Gandhi also alleged that the scam in reality involved over Rs 22,000 crore, as against the Rs 11,400 crore value declared by agencies investigating the case.

Outsider Involvement Cannot Be Ruled Out: CBI

CBI’s investigation into PNB has revealed that logs in swift were used by many officials including Gokulnath Shetty by using passwords in capacity of authoriser enabling fraudulent Swift messages.

Involvement and connivance of more staff members & outsiders can't be ruled out, says CBI.

IT Department Attaches 9 More Accounts of Gitanjali Group

The Income Tax Department has attached 9 more accounts of Gitanjali group, with balance of Rs 81 Lakh, in PNB Fraud Case.

Percentage Of Commission Fixed For Every LoU: Arrested Officials tell CBI

Arrested bank officials disclosed that for every Letter of Undertaking (LoU), a percentage of amount was fixed depending on what amount was to be sanctioned. Commission in exchange of issuing the LoU was distributed between all employees of PNB involved in the fraud, ANI quoted CBI sources as saying.

The involvement and connivance of more staff members and outsiders, including Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi at this stage is being probed. CBI sources also said arrested accused are not co-operating in the investigation, reported ANI.

Assocham Urges Govt to Cut Stake in PSBs to Below 50%

The fraudulent transactions of Rs 11,400 crore detected at Punjab National Bank should act as a strong trigger for the government to reduce its stake to less than 50 percent in public sector banks (PSBs), industry body Assocham said in a statement.

It argued that PSBs should then be allowed to function on the lines of private sector lenders with a full sense of accountability to their shareholders, protecting the interest of depositors.

Nirav Modi Scam Happened During Note Ban: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday, 18 February, demanded a thorough probe into the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case alleging other banks are also involved in the scam.

Claiming that the Rs 11,000-crore PNB scam involving Nirav Modi was only a fraction of a mammoth fraud on the Indian banks, Banerjee asserted that it took place during demonetisation.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Alleges BJP Leadership's Involvement in PNB Scam

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the top leadership of the BJP government was involved in the alleged PNB fraud, which was why the billionaire could flee the country.

“Nirav Modi fled the country after committing a scam of Rs 11,000 crore which cannot merely be a coincidence. Lots of agencies are involved in it and it is not possible until it gets nod from the top,” Kejriwal said to PTI.

So, it is clear that top brass of the Centre is involved in this matter. How can it be possible that Vijay Mallya ran away with Rs 9,000 crore and Nirav Modi escaped with Rs 11,000 crore? This clearly indicates that top leadership of the central government is directly involved in it.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister

Nirav Modi's CFO Appears Before CBI

Vipul Ambani, the Chief Financial Officer of the Nirav Modi Group appeared before the CBI in Mumbai for questioning in connection with the scam on 18 February. The questioning reportedly lasted for over eight hours.

The agency continued interrogating two PNB officials and an authorised signatory of Nirav Modi's company, officials said.

The probe agency has also started interrogating five more officials, including general manager level officers, taking the total number of officials facing questioning to 11, they said.

PNB's Mumbai Office Sealed

The CBI sealed PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai, from where transactions related to the scam were carried out.

(Photo: ANI)

Gitanjali CFO Steps Down

According to BloombergQuint, the Chief Financial Officer of Gitanjali Group Chandrakant Karkare has stepped down from his position.

Compliance and Company Secretary Pankhuri Warange has followed suit, citing ethical issues.

Bank Employees Union Wants Govt to Step in

The government should step into the ongoing PNB fraud case and keep out top management and officials until the probe is complete and accountability fixed, bank union AIBEA demanded.

The impression is that only lower level officials were involved, it added.

"What is sauce for the goose must be for the gander too. While we do not support the wrong-doers at the lower level, the impression is given that only the lower level officials and staff are responsible. Why such a haste and hurry to suspend them?" the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said in a strongly-worded letter on 19 February.

It will be prudent for the government to step in and keep out the entire top management and higher officials from the bank until the probe is completed and accountability is fixed, it said.

ED Seizes Assets Worth Over Rs 6,000 Crore in Raids: Reports

According to Economic Times, the Enforcement Directorate has seized close to Rs 6,000 crore through raids. The daily also reported that the ED is looking to move the PMLA Court soon to attach assets of both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi.

According to other reports, the agency is continuing its searches in across 35 locations.

"My Client Has Not Fled India": Nirav Modi's Lawyer

Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told Hindustan Times that his client had not fled India, and that he was being targeted by multiple agencies.

My client has not fled from India. He is being hounded by multiple agencies simultaneously. Decision on his return to India will be taken in due course.
Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told Hindustan Times

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