PNB SCAM: MODI GOVT’S DRIVE TO DISTANCE ITSELF FROM FRAUD FALLS APART

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a fresh FIR saying that most of the fraud Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) worth over Rs 11,000 crore were issued or renewed in the year 2017-18 only. Modi became PM in May 2014.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — The Narendra Modi government’s all-out drive to distance itself from the Independent India’s largest banking fraud saying it began in 2011 when Congress was in power has fallen apart. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a fresh FIR saying that most of the fraud Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) worth over Rs 11,000 crore were issued or renewed in the year 2017-18 only. Modi became PM in May 2014.

The FIR filed on February 15, 2018 has revealed that more than half of the 293 fraudulent LoUs in the diamond banking scam were issued in 2017-18.

 The CBI had filed first FIR in the case on January 29, 2018 on the basis of the complaint from the Punjab National Bank. It mentioned 8 LoUs worth Rs 280 crore. All these LoUs were issued between February 09, 2017 and February 14, 2017. The CBI has now (Feb 15, 2018) expanded that FIR taking the total of LoUs to 150 worth Rs 6498 crore. However, the agency has not given details about the 142 LoUs. The named accused in the case were Nirav Modi, Nishal Modi, Ami Nirav Modi, Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, Gokulnath Shetty (Deputy Manager (retd.), Punjab National Bank and Manoj Hanumant Kharat, SWO, Punjab National Bank.

8 LoUs Mentioned in First FIR on 31 Jan 2018

09 Feb 2017

LoU

$4415791

09 Feb 2017

LoU

$4335391

10 Feb 2017

LoU

$5942017

10 Feb 2017

LoU

$5843161

10 Feb 2017

LoU

$6093321

14 Feb 2017

LoU

$585885

14 Feb 2017

LoU

$5862251

14 Feb 2017

LoU

$5877064

Total

Rs 280 crore

On Thursday (Feb 15, 2018) also, the CBI filed a second FIR mentioning 143 LoUs worth Rs 4887 crore issued during 2017-18 to three firms owned by diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, the maternal uncle of Nirav Modi.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case on 15.02.2018 U/s 120B r/w 420 of IPC and 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of PC Act against a Managing Director of a private company based at Walkeshwar, Mumbai; three Mumbai based private companies; 10 Directors of three private companies based at various places including Mumbai, Pune, Coimbatore(Tamil Nadu); then Deputy Manager (now Retired) of Punjab National Bank; another official and unknown public servants & others on a complaint dated 13.02.2018 received from Punjab National Bank,” said CBI in a press statement on Friday.

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“It was alleged in the complaint by Punjab National Bank that 3 private companies based at Mumbai and their Promoter/Director in connivance with then Deputy Manager, Punjab National Bank and other official had caused an alleged loss of Rs.4886.72 crore(approx) to the bank. The accused officials in conspiracy with the private persons had sent unauthorised LoUs and Foreign Letters of Credit to overseas branches of Indian banks based on which the overseas bank branches released funds to the suppliers of said companies or cleared the liabilities outstanding against the said companies,” it added.

On Friday, searches were conducted in 5 states at 26 locations, including Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Coimbatore at the official & residential premises of accused including said private companies & their Directors; factories/plants etc which led to recovery of incriminating documents and other items.

Though on the basis of a claim by the Punjab Bank BJP has been saying for the last three days that the fraud began in 2011, the CBI has zeroed in on the suspected bank officers who were posted between 2014-2017.

 “CBI sources said that since the accused — 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. The CBI on Friday questioned four PNB officials in connection with the case. Notably, they are all being probed for their dealings with Modi and his companies between 2014 and 2017,” said The Indian Express.

According to the daily, these officers 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.

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