NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Nirav Modi’s home, showrooms and offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Surat were searched by the Enforcement Directorate today after Punjab National Bank (PNB) complained of staggering fraud at the cost of the taxpayer to benefit the celebrity jeweller and others. Nirav Modi, recently seen in a group photo in Davos with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flew out of India on January 1. State-run PNB on Wednesday reported Rs. 11,000 crore fraud by its own officials to help Nirav Modi and others get credit without guarantees and in violation of rules. “We will honour all our bonafide commitments,” said the bank’s CEO Sunil Mehta.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
1.”Who is protecting Nirav Modi,” questioned the Congress as opposition parties accused the government of allowing big fish to get away without answering for crores in public money. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office had been in the loop on the Nirav Modi case since July.
2.Leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal referred in their tweets to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who left the country in the middle of attempts by banks to recover unpaid loans from him. “Guide to Looting India by Nirav MODI 1. Hug PM Modi 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000Cr B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the Govt looks the other way,” tweeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
3.Minister of State for Finance, SP Shukla, responded: “Was Congress sleeping from 2011 (when the irregularities allegedly began) to 2014? Congress’ was a government of scams and they established these scamsters.”
4.The Enforcement Directorate is investigating complaints that Nirav Modi and his associates were involved in swindling Punjab National Bank out of Rs.280 crore last year.
5.India’s second largest government bank said today that it had discovered in January that $1.8 billion or over Rs. 11,000 crore of taxpayers’ money had been illegally transferred abroad to select customers from a single branch in Mumbai.
6.The CBI reportedly received two complaints from PNB against Nirav Modi on Tuesday night, alleging fraud worth Rs. 10,000 crore.
7.The 48-year-old jewellery designer for stars is already being investigated by the CBI. His properties were raided once before in January.
8.CBI sources say Nirav Modi, his wife, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi worked with bank officials to illegally obtain Letters of Undertaking, which were cashed overseas from different banks, both private and public sector.
9.Letters of Understanding are guarantees that lenders will be paid if there is default. The CBI was told that eight such documents were issued to the jeweler, without being entered in the books, to allow buyers’ credit for making payments to overseas suppliers.
10.The fraud was revealed when Nirav Modi’s companies sought a fresh loan. The officials who had helped them earlier had retired and when the bank insisted on guarantees, the companies allegedly said they had used the facility before. That’s when the bank started investigating.
11.Nirav Modi has several star clients and brand ambassadors and has boutiques across three continents – in London, New York, Las Vegas, Hawai, Singapore, Beijing and Macau.