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Punjab National Bank: Opposition, govt trade charges

The opposition party alleged that “everyone in government of India, including Prime Minister’s Office, were aware of the fraud being committed”, and released a video clip of PM Modi purportedly addressing Choksi as “hamare Mehul bhai” during his speech at an event

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 17, 2018 2:30:02 am
Punjab National Bank, PNB, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Youth Congress Protest, Delhi News, Indian Express, Indian Express News At a Youth Congress protest on the PNB row in Delhi, Friday. PTI

Waving documents, the Congress on Friday claimed that alleged fraud in Punjab National Bank was to the tune of Rs 21,306 crore and that complaints regarding “serious fraud” being committed by Gitanjali group — promoted by Mehul Choksi, uncle of jewellery czar Nirav Modi — had reached the Prime Minister’s Office as early as May 2015. It asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the alleged fraud.

The opposition party alleged that “everyone in government of India, including Prime Minister’s Office, were aware of the fraud being committed”, and released a video clip of PM Modi purportedly addressing Choksi as “hamare Mehul bhai” during his speech at an event.

The Congress released a purported complaint filed by one Vaibhav Khuraniya in May 2015 against Gitanjali Gems Ltd and other subsidiary companies of the group to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed copies of the complaint were sent to the PMO, ED and SFIO. He claimed the PMO had acknowledged receipt of the complaint, and that a similar complaint was filed with Mumbai Police as well.

He claimed that another person identified as Digvijaysinh Jadeja had filed an FIR with the Economic Offences Wing of Gujarat Police in Ahmedabad against Choksi and others for allegedly defrauding him. He claimed the matter reached the Gujarat High Court, where Jadeja filed an affidavit in July 2016 “specifically pointing out that Choksi and others owed a debt of Rs 9,872 crore to banks and are likely to escape from India”. The Congress released the affidavit and claimed the Gujarat government was party in the case.

Surjewala claimed that 30 banks had extended loans to four companies — Gitanjali Gems Ltd, Firestar International Private Ltd, Firestar Diamond FZE and Gitanjali Exports Corporation.

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