PNB scam: IT dept attaches Rs 145.74 cr

Angelica Greene
February 23, 2018

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday said Head of Finance Department of Firestar Group of Companies of Nirav Modi, Vipul Ambani was fully aware of the fraudulent and illegal Letter of Undertakings (LoUs), in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. These include a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Mercedes-Benz, a Porsche Panamera, three Honda variants, a Toyota Fortuner and an Innova.

The branch is at the center of the alleged fraud involving firms tied to diamond merchants Nirav Modi, whose lawyer has denied any wrongdoing, and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, whose firm, Gitanjali Gems, has said it has nothing to do with the case.

CBI tells court that they seized applications for fraudulent LoUs made to PNB from Vipul Ambani's office in Mumbai; gets remand of Modi firm's executive till Mar 5.

Unknown to the RBI at the time, a rogue employee at state-owned Punjab National Bank had allegedly been taking advantage of precisely that flaw in the Indian lender's computer systems for five years, perpetuating a fraud that would eventually balloon to $1.8 billion, according to PNB's account.

The agency's action comes in the wake of its ongoing probe against the two and many others, including directors of their companies and bank officials for the alleged bank fraud.

Federal police say they have both left India in early January and their whereabouts are unknown.

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The Rs 11,400 crore fraud perpetuated by Modi is being investigated by various investigative agencies including the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI. As the searches at the groups' premises continued for the eighth day by ED, the income-tax department said property worth Rs 1,200 crores of the Gitanjali Group located in the Special Economic Zone in Hyderabad has been attached. The cumulative credit balance in these accounts were about Rs 145.74 crore. "However, should you have any concrete and implementable plan, do revert back", the mail said.

Separately, on Thursday, responding to clarifications sought by the stock exchange, PNB in a regulatory filing said it had followed all "lawful avenues available" to recover its dues. The messages include those meant for LOUs, according to a separate circular the bank sent to all its offices on February 12. The agency said it is also carrying out an "independent valuation" of these seized assets.

About the impact of the scam on the financials and operations of the bank, it said: "We have enough assets/ capital to meet any liability, which is decided as per law".

A police source also said three officials tied to Nirav Modi's company had been arrested on Tuesday, along with two officials from Gitanjali, including the chief financial officer.

A legal representative for Modi has actually rejected his customer was associated with any scams+.

Other reports by GizPress

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