CBI officials quiz PNB director Brahmaji Rao for second day

CBI team seals Punjab National Bank's South Mumbai branch at Brady House | PTI

Tightening the noose, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday attached 21 properties of Nirav Modi including flats in Mumbai's posh areas worth Rs 523 Crore. The attached assets include a farm house in Alibag, Solar Power Plant, 135 Acre land in Ahmednagar and residential & office properties in Mumbai and Pune.

Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali Gems promoter and one of the main accused in the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank scam, wrote a letter to his employees telling them that he would not be able to pay their dues, according to reports. The petition was lodged by the joint legal director of the MCA before the NCLT bench headed by B S V Prakash Kumar.

Now, Mr. Nirav Modi sent email to his company thereby advising employees to search another job as he is not in a position to release their salaries due to attachment/sealed his accounts and properties etc.by CBI.

The building's management has now put up a notice in the lobby claiming that Choksi owed them close to Rs 4 crore in the form of unpaid rent and maintenance.

The situation is likely to pose a tough challenge for PNB's chief Sunil Mehta who took charge previous year when his bank and 12 other banks were reprimanded and fined by Reserve Bank for violating foreign exchange regulations amounting to more than $1 billion.

It is alleged that Rs 11, 400 crore of LoUs were fraudulently issued to the firms of Nirav Modi and Choksi.

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On Thursday, the agency seized bank deposits, shares and luxury cars worth over Rs 100 crore.

Many investigating agencies are investigating against Modi, Choksi and others.

Investigators have so far arrested 12 people, including some high-ranking bank officials, for their alleged involvement in the fraud though they have not yet charged Modi for the crime.

A global manhunt has been launched by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for Nirav Modi, who was estimated to be worth nearly £1.3bn in 2017 and has appeared on the World's Billionaires and Forbes' 100 Richest Indians lists for several years.

A former Price Waterhouse Coopers auditor said, "It is perplexing how banks kept advancing loans on such low profits and without probing who these sundry debtors were". PNB says the fraud began as early as 2011 and remained undetected as the staff did not enter the transactions into its core software after sending instructions to overseas banks using Swift. These agencies have already enforced FEMA and anti-money laundering cases against Nirav Modi.

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