BJP says Congress responsible for PNB fraud case

PNB detects fraudulent transactions worth over Rs 11,000 crore at a Mumbai branch amount 49 times higher than net profit for Q3

Mumbai: A day after a massive $1.8 billion fraud was unearthed in a PNB branch here, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday launched a nationwide raid on the offices, showrooms and workshops of billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi.

On Thursday, central investigation agencies seized diamond and gold jewellery worth Rs 5,100 crore in nationwide searches and initiated the process for revoking Modi's passport, officials said.

The Congress and the BJP tried to score political points on Thursday over the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud which has rocked the banking sector and spooked the depositors of public sector banks.

His brother, Nishal, a Belgian citizen who is married to the daughter of Mukesh Ambani's sister, left India on January 1.

The bank had named Modi and several others in an earlier complaint to authorities on January 31, accusing them of "cheating" the bank of around 2.8 billion rupees ($44 million). "The scam was first detected by our officials at first in 2011 and we had reported it to the concerned agencies", he said.

PNB has cautioned other banks about the mode of the operation of the scam that has already ensnared the country's other big lenders. They all left India between January 1 and 6, the CBI said.

PNB has charged that foreign branches of other Indian banks may also be involved in the fraud.

The Bank Employees Federation of India-Kerala has alleged that the Rs. 11,400-crore scam at Punjab National Bank is the outcome of the crony capitalism being practised by the ruling establishment in the country.

The employees are under investigation, CEO Sunil Mehta said at a press conference.

"A series of meetings were held with representatives of Nirav Modi group and Gitanjali group at Delhi & Mumbai to impress upon them to pay the amount".

"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".

Mehul Choksi is Nirav Modi's uncle and Prasad was a franchisee of Gitanjali Gems.

He said allegations made by the Congress over the issue were "baseless". Forbes now ranks him as India's 85th richest man with a net worth of $1.74 billion. The two had allegedly issued fake Letters of Undertakings (LOUs) to the firms owned by Modi and his partners to allow buyers credit for making payments to overseas supplier despite knowing that the Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds - the firms owned by the alleged scamsters - did not have any experience of gaining such credits.

Accusing the NDA government of trampling upon the entire banking system, Surjewala said risk management system, fraud detection ability' and the regulatory mechanism of banks have been severally compromised under the Modi government. "He went to Davos on his own".

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