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Nirav Modi case: Finance Ministry monitoring situation, guilty will not be spared, says PNB MD Sunil Mehta

The PNB chief explained how the incident came to light after he received a "vague email" from customers, involved in the fraud, about settling the dues and the bank sought a detailed response.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2018 6:15 pm
Punjab National Bank Managing Director Nirav Modi addresses the media in Mumbai on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter/ANI) Punjab National Bank Managing Director Sunil Mehta addresses the media in Mumbai on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter/ANI)

A day after state-owned lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) detected fraudulent transactions worth $ 1,771.7 million (over Rs 11,000 crore) in its mid-corporate branch at Brady House, South Mumbai, in a case related to billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, the bank’s Managing Director Sunil Mehta said the Finance Ministry was taking stock of the matter on a day-to-day basis and it “will not spare anyone” involved in the wrongdoing.

Addressing media persons in Mumbai, Mehta said, “PNB has the capability and capacity to overcome this crisis. In response to our registered FIR, the Enforcement Directorate is conducting raids across all groups and establishments who were involved in the act. All necessary documents have been seized. Steps are being taken to protect the financial interest of the bank.”

The PNB chief explained how the incident came to light after he received a “vague email” from customers, involved in the fraud, about settling the dues and the bank sought a detailed response. “The fraud started in 2011 but it was detected in third week of January. We investigated the case and brought it under the notice of regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on January 29. An FIR was registered on January 30. We will not spare anyone invoved in the fraudulent practice.” He added that the transactions were detected in only one branch and no other branches were involved.

Modi, along with his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and maternal uncle Mehul Choksi were booked by the CBI on January 31 for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280 crore in 2017. They were booked under sections of the IPC for criminal conspiracy and cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sources in the CBI said the four accused had left India even before the bank had filed its complaint with the agencies. The CBI has now issued a look-out circular against them.

Meanwhile, the Congress party launched a scathing attack against the Centre and said it had become a norm for the Narendra Modi government to let businessmen and corporates run away with public money. Nirav Modi is believed to have left the country on January 1.

Addressing the jeweller as ‘Chhota Modi’, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters, “Was he tipped off like Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya to escape by someone within the government? Has it become the norm for letting people run away with public money?”

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also took an apparent dig at PM Modi and tweeted “a guide to looting India”. Gandhi listed four points and said the first involved “hugging PM Modi” and “be seen with him in Davos”. Next, he said the diamond jeweller used the clout to “steal” Rs 12, 000 crore and “slip out of the country like Mallya”.

However, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the case was an outcome of the actions of the previous UPA government. “Whatever is coming out is the result of actions of the previous UPA govt. Action will be taken against the guilty,” she told reporters in Shillong.

Several raids were conducted across multiple properties of Modi across the country by the Enforcement Directorate earlier during the day. Around 60 officials from the agency raided at least 12 properties including Modi’s jewellery showrooms as well as his corporate office in Mumbai, apart from locations in Surat and Delhi. The ED also sealed his house in Worli in Mumbai.

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    GARIB HINDUSTANI
    Feb 16, 2018 at 4:43 am
    "THE LAW WILL TAKE ITS COURSE" The standard line we hear "THE GUILTY WILL NOT BE SPARED" Another standard line we hear what a joke listening to this from those who are guilty themselves all the while bleeding public money while guys like Vijay Mallya and now these diamond jokers live lavish lifestyles. The law will take years and finally a CBI court will say there is not enough evidence and let these s go scot free For all we know the ED people who go to the UK to extradite Vijay Mallya must be having a g time with him and coming home. Up and down once again at public expense. after some time both media and people will forget till another scam turns up. over a period of time we will think this is normal if it is not happening already
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    1. Venkat Pokkunuri
      Feb 15, 2018 at 9:57 pm
      Mr.Mehtha don't you have any shame for talking like this? are you joking? yo might be arrested on any day you are resposnible and accoutable here first, you should be suspended and you will be the first in the list of suspects who colluded with this fraudster.
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        Asang Dani
        Feb 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm
        Mr. Mehta, if you have even a shred of accountability left - very first thing you should do is resign. If you don't have checks and balances in detecting LOUs to the tune of 1.7 Billion USD over 6 year period, you can't claim to be in control of your bank anyway.
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        1. praful vora
          Feb 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm
          Fraud started in 2011. And congress was in power
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          1. Kim Sharma
            Feb 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm
            Funds were taken away in Jan 2017. 2011 nirav opened an account with the bank. This is being cited by Modi bhakths as defence. Lame defence at the risk of suggesting that Modi kept quiet to help his jeweller friend.
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            1. Kim Sharma
              Feb 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm
              Modi failed as PM as he thought a country could be built by 1) aiding and abetting Gujarati businessmen to steal bank funds 2) organising mass yoga events, road shows or rock show-like spectacles abroad 3) holding radio talks and Tiranga rallies 4) guiding and following third-rate cyber goons 5) encouraging vandals on streets and crass cheerleaders at rallies 6) frequent overseas tours that don't yield gains commensurate to a PM's visit 7) abusing opposition 8) coining acronyms 9) frequent tweets 8) obfuscating historic facts 10) blaming the real builders of the nation to hide one's own failures 11) shielding criminal party leaders 12) appointing semi-literate country bumpkins as CMs 13) oratory devoid of intellectual heft 14) renaming old schemes or bodies 15) whimsical actions.... Desire or noble intentions are not enough: Indian Prime Ministership is an art. Modi proves why he is unfit as PM and why the Gandhis could be successful PMs. His jealousy prompts him to target them.
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              1. Kim Sharma
                Feb 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm
                Shahanshah thus aids his friends! What all did he get in return? Helicopter, cash...for poll campaign!
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              2. Mayur Panghaal
                Feb 15, 2018 at 7:08 pm
                DRI that gave clean chit to Adani’s Rs.1600 crores scam will probe Nirav Modi’s Rs.11,300 crores fraud.Nirav Modi’s case also will get a clean chit or dragged since the brother of Nirav Modi is married to daughter of Ambani’s sisters daughter and caretaker Narendra Modi will safe guard all 😊. It’s time to have some Pakodas 😁😁
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                  GARIB HINDUSTANI
                  Feb 16, 2018 at 4:48 am
                  with such scams and no return of public money nor jailing those who are guilty then in a short while pakodas are the only thing available to eat
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