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Nirav Modi’s ‘letter’ to PNB: You closed all my options by going public, liability much less than Rs 11,000 crore

In letter purportedly written by Nirav Modi, the jeweller wrote that the Punjab National Bank’s actions had destroyed his brand and business and restricted their ability to recover all dues.

business Updated: Feb 20, 2018 18:13 IST
Gopika Gopakumar  and Alekh Archana
Gopika Gopakumar and Alekh Archana
Livemint, Mumbai
Nirav Modi,Punjab National Bank,PNB fraud case
Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, Mumbai. CBI and ED have launched nationwide searches on dozens of offices and residences belonging to Modi and Gitanjali group. (Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint File photo)

A letter purportedly written by jeweller Nirav Modi, circulating on WhatsApp, claims that the Rs 11,000 crore liability cited by PNB in a loan fraud case is far higher than what is owed.

Mint couldn’t confirm the authenticity of the letter apparently written to PNB, but a person familiar with Modi’s legal strategy said it could be genuine.

In the letter, Modi has appealed to the bank to support his efforts to repay debt. On January 31, the CBI had registered a first information report saying two PNB employees had colluded with companies linked to Modi in illegal transactions that allowed the firms to raise funds abroad.

In a subsequent note to the exchanges, PNB had said the transactions could be over Rs 11,000 crore.

“The media suggests that the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is over Rs 11,000 crores. As you are aware, this is entirely incorrect and the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is substantially less. Even after your complaint was filed, in good faith I wrote to you saying please sell/ allow me to sell Firestar Group (Modi’s flagship company), or their valuable assets, and recover the moneys that may be found due not just from Firestar Group, but also from the three firms. The valuation of the business was approximately Rs 6,500 crores which could have helped reduce/discharge the debt to the banking system,” he said.

Diamonds RUs, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds are the three companies named in the CBI complaint.

He added that the erroneous reporting led to seizure of operations, which in turn resulted in Firestar International Private Limited and Firestar Diamond International Private Limited effectively ceasing to be going concerns and jeopardized his company’s ability to discharge the dues to banks.

Modi also claimed in the letter that buyers credit facility has been extended by PNB to the three partnership firm over the years and there has been no default.

As part of their investigations, federal agencies have seized gold, diamonds and precious stones valued over Rs 5,700 crore.

“These, and other assets of FIPL/FDIPL and the three firms (including receivables and assets seized) could have settled all the amounts due to banks. However, now that stage appears to have passed, and there is generally panic,” he said.

Modi also said that his brother, wife, and uncle Mehul Choksi, the head of Gitanjali Gems, have been wrongly named in the complaint by PNB.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 22:14 IST