Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 1 hour, 7 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
What a rip-off!
March 09, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

An official of India’s Punjab National Bank received gold and diamond jewellery from a billionaire jeweller accused of being involved in a $2 billion bank fraud, the federal police told a court on Saturday.

The state lender in January uncovered the alleged fraud in which several bank officials were suspected of colluding with jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi to issue fraudulent letters of undertakings (LoUs), for their companies to raise loans from overseas branches of mostly Indian banks.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has arrested 14 people in the case, on Saturday for the first time said bribes were paid to at least one Punjab National Bank (PNB) official by Modi.

Punjab National Bank, the country’s second-largest state-run lender, announced it had been hit by a scam on a huge scale earlier last week.

Two employees, Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat, are suspected of steering fraudulent loans to companies tied to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, who owns the jewellery brand Firestar Diamond, and his uncle Mehul Choksi, chairman of jewellery retailer Gitanjali group.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the bank said it had “detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select accounts holders”.

Bank officials say the scam appears to have begun in 2011 and occurred at just one Mumbai branch.

Many of the details of the fraud remain unclear, including whether all the $1.8bn is missing or if some money may have been used to repay earlier loans.

Authorities have not publicly charged Modi and Choksi, but say they are under investigation for allegedly cheating the bank using fake documents.

The whereabouts of Modi is unknown, but Indian broadcaster NDTV reported on Friday he was at a hotel in New York, according to staff.

He has not yet commented on the claims and Firestar Diamond previously said the case was not connected to the company.

Modi, 47, is the owner of 17 jewellery boutiques around the world, with branches in Asia, India, the UK and the US.

His jewellery has been worn by Hollywood and Bollywood stars, including Kate Winslet and Priyanka Chopra.

According to Forbes, he is worth $1.74bn and is 85th on India’s rich list.

The agency told the court that Yashwant Joshi, who worked as a manager in the forex department of the Mumbai branch that is at the centre of the fraud, admitted to having received two gold coins weighing 60 grams and a pair of gold and diamond earrings from Modi.

The articles have been recovered from Joshi’s house in the presence of independent witnesses, the CBI said.

Modi and Choksi, who owns Gitanjali Gems Ltd, left India before the fraud came to light, but have said in letters and statements they were innocent.

The CBI, however, has expanded its investigation and arrested two internal auditors of the branch, among others.

Separately, Indian TV channels reported that another Mumbai court on Saturday issued non-bailable warrants against Modi and Choksi following an appeal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), an Indian agency focused on foreign exchange and money laundering offences.


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
Bhaswati Mukherjee: India’s new global narrative
India’s soft power and its new global outreach became apparent after the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 responded positively to Prime Minister Narendra..
Amit Kapoor: India times it perfectly
The current global economy is caught in a major paradox. We live in a world where systems using artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation are matching or exce..
Amulya Ganguli: The Kejriwal enigma
The biggest argument against granting full statehood to Delhi is Arvind Kejriwal himself. If an election leads to the elevation of what a former Union Home Minister, Sush..
Tarun Basu: A blow for democracy?
The images from Nagpur were, in the words of a Congressman, hard to digest. Here was Pranab Mukherjee, a dyed-in-the-wool secularist, who had spent a lifetime in the Cong..
Amit Dasgupta: India’s education system needs a paradigm shift
The CBSE results are out and students would be enrolling in droves for university education. While children find it exciting to embark on the next chapter of their life-j..
Advertise | Copyright