PNB Fraud Case: Priyanka Chopra Mulling Termination Of Contract With Nirav Modi

The logo of Punjab National Bank is seen outside of a branch of the bank. | REUTERS

On February 14, state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) said it has detected a Rs11,400 crore fraud where Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders, news agencies reported.

Searches were carried out in places including in Delhi, Mumbai and Surat.

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 state-owned bank said it had detected Dollars 1.77 billion fraud in which billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from one its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

On Wednesday, India's second largest public sector bank, the 123-year old Punjab National Bank disclosed to the stock exchanges that it had detected fraudulent and unauthorised transactions/messages to the tune of $1.77 billion or roughly Rs 11,400 crore. Kumar, however, said the bank has some exposure to Gitanjali Gems, owned by Mehul Choksi, uncle of Nirav Modi.

Globetrotter Priyanka Chopra is the face of the Nirav Modi diamond jewellery house.

They suspected that the scam would not be confined to the PNB alone.

He said the scam involved over 30 banks including Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Oversees Bank, Corporation Bank, Andhra Bank, Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and the Export Import Bank of India. "Despite all this, Nirav Modi traveled in the business delegation to Davos in January 2018 with Prime Minister Modi".

At least 10 bank employees have been suspended but it is not clear whether anybody from the crucial PNB credit approval committee or its board of directors figure among them.

The question as to why the PNB did not send a complaint to the CBI and chose to give it in tranches is also under the scanner of the agency, they said.

Mehta further said he has not come to the bank "personally" and "we have requested to him to come and give us a written plan and how he is going to make a repayment".

It is said to have sought the help of the government to get out of the mess.

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. Shares of PNB slumped for the third day on Friday.

"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.

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