CBI books billionaire Nirav Modi in Rs 280 crore cheating case
The Punjab National Bank alleged that diamond merchant Modi and partners were in conspiracy with officials of the bank and cheated it, causing “wrongful loss”.Updated: Feb 05, 2018 22:33 IST
One of India’s top diamond jewellers, billionaire Nirav Modi has been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of cheating the state-owned Punjab National Bank of around Rs 280 crore.
Besides Modi, CBI has also named his brother Nishal Modi, wife Ami Modi and maternal uncle Mehul Chinubhai Choksi in the case. A retired and a serving officer of the bank along with other unknown persons have also been named in the matter.
Following the registration of First Information Report, CBI carried out searches at 21 locations including the residence all those accused and the companies connected with the case.
The FIR, seen by Hindustan Times, was filed on the basis of a complaint that the agency received from Punjab National Bank. The complaint alleged that Modi, his brother, wife and uncle, who all are partners in three firms -- Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds -- conspired with the bank’s then deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty (since retired) and another official Manoj Kharat to cheat the bank and caused ‘wrongful loss’ of around Rs 280 crore in 2017.
A representative of Nirav Modi’s company did not offer any comment for the story on his behalf.
The bank’s complaint said on January 16 this year, the three firms approached the bank for issuance of letter of Undertaking (LOU) and presented a set of import documents and requested for buyer’s credit to make payments to overseas suppliers. The bank asked them to furnish 100 % cash margin as there was no sanctioned limit in the name of these firms. The firms contested that they had availed the facility in the past as well but the bank didn’t find any prior record of this in its systems.
On probing the matter further, the bank found that eight such letters of undertaking had been issued in 2017 for a total of $ 44.2 million , the equivalent of Rs 280.70 crore.
The complaint said these letters of undertaking were issued by then deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat fraudulently and without following the procedure. No entries were made about these undertakings in the bank system.
“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R Us, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to Punjab National Bank during 2017,” said the FIR.
In January 2017, the tax department had raided various offices and residences of Nirav Modi on charges of alleged tax evasion.
These raids were conducted at locations in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, SEZ units in Surat. Officials in the tax department said that several companies belonging to Modi are being probed by them.
The raids against Modi last year, coincided with the tax department’s probe against Gitanjali Group, promoted by Mehul Choksi.