PNB fraud: Nobody, irrespective of their status or stature, shall be spared

Fredrick Soto
February 16, 2018

The Congress on Thursday turned up the heat on the Modi government with Rahul Gandhi suggesting that the proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi escape the country when the PNB banking scam unraveled. Surjewala asked in a press conference later.

The CBI has booked Nirav Modi along with his wife, brother and business partner Mehul Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 280 crore.

Asked if the incident will taint the Prime Minister's image, he said: "The Prime Minister's image can not be worse than that of the Congress and (Congress spokesperson Randeep) Surjewala. However, in the end the government could not do anything".

Prasad also questioned Congress' right to comment on the incident, claiming that their government allowed liquor baron Vijay Mallya to run away with around Rs 9,000 crore which he had taken as loan from 17 Indian banks.

Indian-born luxury jeweler Nirav Modi's whereabouts are of great concern to every Indian tax-payer today.

Acccusing the government authorities of "sleeping" on a July 26, 2016 complaint, the principal Opposition party called it the "biggest bank loot in the past 70 years" and referred to the celebrity designer as "chhota Modi". He grew up in Belgium, dropped out of Wharton School at 19 to join the diamond business and his flagship company Firestar Diamond sources and distributes diamonds.

The promise to repay is worth the paper it is written on as it dangles the brand as the most valuable asset which anyway stands eroded substantially after the scandal broke out, said bankers. "The BJP takes strong offence to the language used".

Prasad, however, said: Nirav Modi did not meet PM Modi at Davos.

The bank has sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs 11,400 crore. "In no way does it show any connection", Prasad told reporters. These junior employees had fraudulently issued Letters of Undertakings (LOUs) without following the prescribed procedure and without making any entry into the bank's systems.

As the day unfolded, reports emerged that the bank had filed two complaints against Modi with India's top investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, for carrying out fraudulent transactions.

The CBI issued a lookout circular against all the four after registering the first FIR against them, they said.

The bank has the capability to resolve this matter and come out of it, and it would honour all its bona fide commitments to the stakeholders, Mittal added.

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