ED searches 17 locations in PNB fraud case

Nirav Modi writes letter to PNB blames bank's'haste for fiasco

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In a letter to PNB officials, Mr Modi stated that his companies owed the bank less than 50 billion rupees (S$1.02 billion), much lower than the amount alleged by the bank.

The CBI has arrested Rajesh Jindal, a general manager-rank officer at PNB's Brady House branch between 2009 and 2011, in connection with the R11,400-crore scam. Jindal is presently posted as GM, Credit, PNB Head Office, New Delhi.

Unknown to the RBI at the time, a rogue employee at state-owned Punjab National Bank had allegedly been taking advantage of precisely that flaw in the Indian lender's computer systems for five years, perpetuating a fraud that would eventually balloon to $1.8 billion, according to PNB's account.

Advocate Limosin said that Kavita Mankikar, an executive assistant to Modi, was authorised signatory of M/s Diamonds 'R'US, M/s Stellar Diamonds and M/s Solar Exports and she had signed the fraudulent LoUs to PNB for the issuance of buyers credit.

CBI said that the accused were not cooperating with investigations and not being able to give reasonable explanation for not blowing the lid off the scam. Gitanjali Gems, in a regulatory filing, denied Choksi's involvement in the alleged fraud.

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After entering the transactions on the SWIFT messaging system, the official, who worked at the same branch from 2010 to 2017, did not record them on PNB's internal system, according to the bank's complaint.

The prosecution submitted that Khandelwal was responsible for the total financial management of the company and was reporting to Choksi. Vipul, the president (finance) of Firestar International, the lead company of Modi's empire, was arrested on Tuesday. All three have been sent to police custody till March 5.

The Central Bureau of Investigation also sealed a luxury property of Nirav Modi in the Alibaug area near Mumbai on Wednesday over the case. The bungalow, "Roapanya", was searched on Tuesday after documents pertaining to its ownership were recovered during raids. He said the Rs 11,400 crore cited by the bank had resulted in a media frenzy that pressured authorities to quickly search and seize assets from his Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International companies.

With media reporting that Modi and his family were hiding in NY or Dubai, the external affairs ministry said it has suspended the passports of Modi and his uncle Choksi for four weeks.

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