PNB Scam: PM Modi Has Destroyed India Financially, Says Rahul Gandhi

Jeweller and diamond trader Nirav Modi

The Congress president also said that the former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, explained to the Steering Committee that a "fraud of this scale can not take place without high-level protection". "In this (PNB) case, it is a bank fraud which was unearthed because of the pro-activeness of the NDA government", Javadekar claimed.

Modi managed to do this by procuring Letters of Undertakings from Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted search operation at 21 other locations across India in connection with Nirav Modi case and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones, metals and jewellery worth Rs 25 crore (Book Value).

The PNB fraud pertains to issuance of fake Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) to companies associated with billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi by errant PNB employees, which enabled these companies to raise buyers credit from worldwide branches of other Indian lenders.

The bank has fired 18 employees, while the government has promised it won't "spare anyone".

'Neither My wife, sons nor me have anything whatsoever to do with Gitanjali or Nirav Modi companies.

Indian broadcaster NDTV reported on Friday that Modi was staying at an apartment in New York's Manhattan.

Under the new anti-black money law cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the regular and civil Income Tax Act of 1961, attract a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.

Modi, 46, has been a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013. These letters helped facilitate Rs 280.7 crore fraud by jewellery designer Nirav Modi among others. A fresh FIR has been filed by the CBI on Friday.

State-owned UCO Bank on Saturday said it has an exposure of $411.82 million (about Rs2,636 crore) in the Rs11,400-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud committed by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his associates.

Clearly, the agencies have an uphill task as Nirav Modi along with his wife, brother Nishal and uncle Choksi have already left the country in the first week of January.

"We have arrested Gokulnath Shetty, the retired Deputy Manager with the bank, Manoj Kharat, who was employed as Single Window Operator at the bank and Hemant Bhat, the authorised signatory for the Nirav Modi group on Saturday morning", said an officer. They urged that because of the fraud, the entire industry should not be branded as "risky" industry.

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