Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Indian police question cenbank officials in $2 billion PNB bank fraud

Patty Aguilar | 06 April, 2018, 15:25

The location of absconding jeweller Nirav Modi, who left India before his Rs 12,700 crore fraud of Punjab National Bank (PNB) came to light, has been traced to Hong Kong, after reports that he was in NY.

The multi-crore scam along with the accused fleeing before prosecution resulted in backlash on the government, as well as protests in Parliament.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) submitted a request to the Hong Kong authorities for Nirav Modi's provisional arrest on March 23. A provisional arrest is filed before a formal extradition request.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the case along with the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is also exploring all possible options to bring the fugitive businessman back.

PNB has said it is working with investigative agencies and regulators in the probe, in which authorities have so far arrested 20 people including executives from the state-run bank.

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In what has been dubbed as the biggest fraud in India's banking history, two jeweller groups have been accused of defrauding banks by raising loans from overseas branches of Indian lenders using almost $2 billion of fraudulent guarantees issued by rogue Punjab National Bank staff at a Mumbai branch.

The CBI alleged that DPIL extensively utilised cash credit limits for obtaining a large number of letters of credits, and many of them could not be honoured by the company and were thus "forced charged" on the credit limit. The board had also reviewed the bank's internal processes for credit approval and found them robust, the private sector lender had said in a statement.

He said the MEA had earlier served them the show-cause notices to explain why the government should not revoke their passports.

The HC bench comprising justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta said that it will hear this matter April 11, along with similar plea of Firestar Diamond, a firm owned by diamond trader Nirav Modi.

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