INTERPOL Issues Diffusion PNB Fraud Case, Nirav Modi Traced To New York

Punjab National Bank informed the stock exchanges on Wednesday that the fraud was detected in one of its branches in Mumbai and that it has referred the matter to law enforcement agencies

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted raids on premises linked to billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi in three States - four locations in Mumbai, including Modi's office and showroom in Kala Ghodathree; in Surat; and two in Delhi - in connection with the fraudulent transactions in the PNB, said media reports quoting ED sources.

Federal investigators have raided Nirav Modi's Mumbai home and offices, though the jeweller is outside the country and his whereabouts is unknown.

The stock market dealings of billionaire jeweller Modi his relative and close associate Choksi came under the scanner of SEBI and stock exchanges following PNB's declaration of over Rs 11,000-crore fraud.

Earlier, the ED registered a money laundering case against him and others for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of Rs. 280 crore.

India's Enforcement Directorate, a government agency that fights financial crime, will probe the possibility of money laundering in the case.

The case is centered around diamond billionaire Nirav Modi who is accused of colluding with bank employees to fraudulently obtain advances for payments to overseas suppliers to his business stretching from NY to London to Beijing.

He said that the agencies are already taking action against Nirav Modi who fled the country.

But he also insisted that "PNB is committed in clean banking" and that is why they reported it immediately to the regulators.

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On Wednesday, the PNB suspended 10 of its officials after fraud worth thousands of crores of rupees was unearthed at one of its branches in Mumbai.

It is also inconceivable that only 10 people (those suspended) were in the know of things, when even the foreign sellers (who sold the raw diamonds to Modi's firms) held accounts at foreign branches of Indian banks.

Prasad said the government would revoke his passport, but the prominent jeweler reportedly left India in early January and is believed to be in Switzerland.

His brand, "Nirav Modi", aims to open 100 stores globally by 2025 and gained enormous popularity in a short period.

The employees are under investigation, CEO Sunil Mehta said at a press conference.

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. LoUs, issued when overseas import payments are involved, basically guarantees liability payment by one bank to another on behalf of its client. "Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers overseas", PNB said.

The CBI had lodged an FIR against them on January 31.

Today, Law Minister R S Prasad said that "no one will be spared in the banking system who has sought to derail ordinary banking system to help Nirav Modi".

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