India seizes 10000 watches of billionaire jeweller in fraud case

In a press release on 20 February the RBI said that it has warned banks on at least three occasions since August 2016 on putting in place safeguards in the SWIFT system

The final bill of the fraud at Punjab National Bank to the Indian banking system could well be in the vicinity of Rs 21,000 crore, if one were to account for the secured loans to the Nirav Modi group and the Gitanjali group of companies.

Close on the heels of a massive Rs 11,300 crore PNB scam, three fresh financial frauds have come to light including the alleged involvement of a Delhi-based jeweller, who has been accused of defrauding the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) to the tune of about Rs 390 crore through Letters of Credit.

Questioning of 12 arrested accused persons continued on Saturday, a CBI official said.

"On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended the validity of passports of Mr. Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr. Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10 (A) of the Passports Act 1967", said a press release by MEA.

Even as the Enforcement Directorate has expanded its probe against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to include loans taken by them from 16 other banks over the past few years, industry body Assocham today said that the episode should not halt the entire system of corporate lending as demoralisation would set in among public sector bank (PSB) employees.

The CBI on Saturday questioned PNB managing director-cum-CEO Sunil Mehta and executive director KV Brahmaji Rao in connection with the bank fraud case.

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The agency is also trying to ascertain that whether these officers were in touch with Modi and Choksi or not or whether they met him in their headquarters or not. Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, were also named.

The agency's action comes in the wake of its ongoing probe - along with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) - against the two and many others including directors of their companies and bank officials into the alleged bank fraud. The agency after arresting a top employee - Vipul Ambani - of Modi's company found that Modi was in direct touch with top bank officers.

"The bank can not recover the outstanding amount of Rs 6.2 million as no security is available with the bank".

But, after the loans turned into NPAs, the actual market value of the properties were found to be only Rs 2.5 crore.

Nirav Modi owns 25 real estate properties worth Rs 1,500 crore across Surat, Nasik, Mumbai and Pune including a solar plant in Nashik.

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