India's fraud-hit PNB looking to monetize assets


The Enforcement Directorate has raided 17 premises across the country related to Nirav Modi and Geetanjali Gems in connection with Punjab National Bank fraud case.

In a co-ordinated nationwide action on Thursday by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the agency of the central government, which investigates financial crimes, assets worth roughly Rs 5,100 crore were seized from Modi's offices, showrooms, workshops and residences in Mumbai, Surat and New Delhi. In what could be the largest banking fraud in the country's history, Modi allegedly acquired illegal letters of undertaking from PNB through a junior ranking official, who did not route them through the Core Banking System in order to avoid detection.

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday linked the billionaire to fraudulent transactions worth Rs 11,360 crore from a single branch in Mumbai.

In late January, shortly before the fraud allegations were made, Modi was photographed alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

What is so surprising is that Priyanka has stated in 2017 that meeting Nirav Modi is like meeting of minds and showered praises on him for bringing India to the global front.

Technically, the bank could have stopped payment - these were actually short term loans, called buyer's credit - at any time on the "letters of undertaking" (LoUs) that it and Modi had signed, allowing Modi to pick up raw diamond from sellers overseas. Ami is said to be an American citizen, while Nishal is a Belgian national. Nirav Modi jewels have been worn by big names like Dakota Johnson, Viola Davis, Sarah Paulson, Kate Upton and Taraji P. Henson at major award shows like the Screen Actor's Guild Award and the Golden Globes Awards as well. "...the bank (Axis Bank), through its overseas branches, undertakes transactions against LoU issued by other banks".

This is not the first instance where a bank fraud of such a large magnitude has taken place.

PNB shares continued to bleed for the second day in a row, ending with a steep loss of 12 per cent at Rs 128.35 apiece on BSE. The bank officials asked the Modi's firms to submit 100% cash margin for the LoU, to which the firms replied that they had used the similar facility in the past, so when PNB did there internal inquiry whole story came to limelight and they found that fake LoUs were issued.

"Nirav Modi and his accomplices attempted to bypass established banking channels by perpetrating this fraud", Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

"While investigation process is on, 10 officers/employees were suspended on account their suspected involvement in the fraud".

"I wish to make it very clear, and this I can also convey on behalf of the Government, that those who sought to derail the ordinary banking system to help Nirav shall not be spared".