PNB issued 150 LoUs to Nirav Modi firms

PNB Bank new

Is this going to be the biggest fraud case in India's banking history?

The fraud, involving state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB), is estimated to include transactions to the tune of Rs 11,300 crore.

But on Thursday, officials at the nation's central investigative agency announced it was looking for Modi as law enforcement officials fanned out to raid his jewellery stores and other businesses in Mumbai and New Delhi. A spokesman for the ED refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

The setback in Modi's climb to fame and fortune was abrupt, even by the rough-and-tumble standards of one of the world's fastest growing major economies. He is the founder of United States dollars 2.3 billion Firestar Diamond and has business spread across three continents from China in Asia to Hawaii Islands in North America.

The country is now debating over Nirav Modi fraud.

"The Modi Govt needs to come clean about its inaction on the Nirav Modi Scam".

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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 Forbes had described Nirav Modi as one of the youngest billionaires of India.

According to the CBI, Nirav Modi left India on January 1, days before CBI issued lookout circulars against the celebrated designer and his wife Ami, an American citizen, who left India on January 6. It reported that Modi and his brother left on January 1. The ED has written to the foreign ministry seeking revocation of the passports of Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi. All are being investigated by the CBI.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said celebrity designer Nirav Modi "used the clout of being seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Davos to slip out". The two are not related.

Briefing media here today, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said Nirav Modi was part of a CII delegation. "He went to Davos on his own". He is also present in the group photo that PM had with the other Indian businessmen. Modi, the third generation of his family to go into the diamond trade, has not commented on the allegations. "This matter has no affiliation, legal or otherwise, with Firestar International, which is the flagship enterprise of Nirav Modi", the company said in an e-mail response. The trouble comes as India's government is trying to reduce the crippling debts of the country's embattled lenders, including PNB. The bank is yet to receive a concrete plan. PNB shares continued to bleed for the second day in a row, ending with a steep loss of 12 per cent at Rs 128.35 apiece on BSE.

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