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PNB fraud: Centre opposes plea for SIT probe, says investigation is on

The Supreme Court has listed the matter for hearing on March 16.

business Updated: Feb 21, 2018 16:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
PNB fraud case,Nirav Modi fraud case,PNB scam
Enforcement Directorate personnel conduct raids at a jewellery shop in Thane on Monday in connection with the PNB-Nirav Modi fraud case. (PTI)

The Centre on Wednesday opposed in the Supreme Court a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an independent probe and deportation of jeweller Nirav Modi in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud case, saying that an FIR had already been lodged and a probe was on.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it was at present not “saying anything on the matter” and listed the PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda for further hearing on March 16.

Attorney general KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said he was opposing the PIL on various grounds, including that an inquiry had started after the FIR was registered.

The PIL has made Punjab National Bank, Reserve Bank of India and the ministries of finance and law and justice parties. It has sought a direction for initiation of deportation proceedings of Nirav Modi and others allegedly involved in the banking fraud, preferably within two months.

The plea has asked for a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the banking fraud, allegedly involving billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. It has also asked for a probe into the role of the top management of the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The CBI has already registered two FIRs — one on January 31 and another a few days ago — against Modi, his relative Choksi of Gitanjali Gems and others for allegedly defrauding the PNB of about Rs 11,400 crore.

The plea has sought a direction to the finance ministry to frame guidelines on the grant and disbursal of loans involving big amounts.

“Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction directing the Finance Ministry and the RBI to frame guidelines in granting of the loan of the 10 Crores and above to ensure safety and recovery of such loans,” the PIL has said.

It has also sought the setting up of an experts’ body to deal with cases of bad banking debts in the country. Besides, the petition seeks framing of rules for the recovery of loans from the defaulters within a stipulated period, even by attaching their properties and auctioning them in the open market.

In his PIL, Dhanda has asked for a direction to fasten liabilities on the employees of a bank for sanctioning loans on the basis of deficient documents and said loans should also be recovered by attaching the properties of such bank officials even after their retirement.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 13:39 IST