$1.77 billion fraud at PNB Mumbai branch, ED files case against Nirav Modi

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday registered a money laundering case in connection with the Rs 280-crore cheating of Punjab National Bank (PNB) allegedly by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and others, on the basis of a CBI FIR.

PTI quoted official sources as saying that the agency filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR.

Modi, 46, was booked by the CBI for cheating after PNB sent a complaint to it alleging that the jewellery firm owner, his brother, wife and Choksi entered into a criminal conspiracy with the officials of the bank and cheated it, causing a “wrongful loss”.

It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others. The agency, they said, would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.

Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi are partners in Diamonds R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds, which has shops in foreign locations such as Hong Kong, Dubai, and New York.

State-owned PNB on Wednesday said it has detected a USD 1.77 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) scam. PNB has suspended ten officers and referred the matter to CBI for investigation.

Modi may face a fresh CBI probe.

Punjab National Bank detects $1.77 billion fraud

Meanwhile, PNB on Wednesday intimated stock exchange BSE about the “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions in one of its branches in Mumbai. 

“The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance,” India’s second-biggest state-run bank said in a regulatory filing.

On the other hand, PNB has cautioned other banks about the modus operandi of the scam.

“It has been reported through a preliminary investigation that the suspected fraud has been carried out by the perpetrators in collusion with the staff of one of our branches in Mumbai,” PNB said in a letter sent to various banks, including those from the private and public sector as also to foreign lenders.

The companies were maintaining only current accounts with the branch and none of the transactions was routed through the Centralised Banking System, it said.

(With PTI inputs)

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