India suspends passport of billionaire jeweller

Javier Howell
February 18, 2018

Companies linked to Nirav and his uncle Mehul Choksi have come under the scanner after the scam surfaced.

Nirav Modi's businesses were related to luxury goods and foreign remittances, and, in such areas, the banks use extra caution due to the high value of transactions involved. The Sena in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana alleged that Nirav Modi, who is at the centre of the scandal, had been a "partner" of the BJP and helped it collect funds for elections.

The accusations against the two relatively junior PNB officials were detailed in the lender's disclosure, and also contained in a preliminary police report.

People wait in a queue outside a Punjab National Bank ATM in New Delhi, India, February 16, 2018. They were sent to CBI custody for 14 days by a Mumbai court, which said the scam has "consequences for the economy of the nation" and that it was a "very serious offence". No charges have yet been laid.

PNB on Friday said it will honour its "bonafide commitments" and entire liability will be known after the investigation.

Kharat's uncle told Reuters the PNB employee was "just following orders of superiors" and added "he wasn't aware of what he is doing".

In a press conference in Delhi on Thursday, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of PNB, Sunil Mehta, had said in response to a question that all the branches overseas which had issued money against LoUs or FLCs of his bank were branches of Indian banks except one.

The 47-year-old is the founder of Firestar Diamond and jeweller to top Hollywood stars, including Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts.

Many reports say Mr Modi has left the country, and police have as yet been unable to speak with him.

Both authorities have conducted dozens of raids since PNB disclosed the fraud, targeting PNB, Modi and Choksi, with the Enforcement Directorate now having seized diamonds, gold and jewelry worth 56.7 billion rupees.

"He has taken money from people's pockets and put it into the banking sector and now his friends and cronies are stealing it from the banking sector and the prime minister is not saying anything", he alleged. "I intend to take legal action if she does not express regret for the charges which brought disrepute to me and my family", Singhvi told reporters in Kolkata, The Congress leader said that he had come to the city to attend a wedding and was "aghast" to see news reports of Sitharaman's allegations.

The RBI did not reply to an emailed request for comment.

The Indian bank branches which had credited money to Nostro accounts of PNB on receiving LoUs or FLCs, which were then withdrawn by Gitanjali group companies as buyers' credit, include: State Bank of India (Mauritius); State Bank of India (Frankfurt); Bank of India (Antwerp); Canara Bank (Bahrain); Axis Bank (Hong Kong); Allahabad Bank (Hong Kong); Union Bank of India (Hong Kong); and Uco Bank (Hong Kong).

Other reports by Insurance News

Discuss This Article