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PNB fraud case: ED registers Prevention of Money Laundering Act case against Nirav Modi, others

State-owned Punjab National Bank On Wednesday Said It Has Detected A USD 1.77 Billion Scam In Which Billionaire Jeweler Nirav Modi Allegedly Acquired Fraudulent Letters Of Undertaking From One Of Its Branches For Overseas Credit From Other Indian Lenders.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Gautam Lalotra | Updated on: 15 Feb 2018, 09:55:19 AM

New Delhi:

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday registered a  Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case against Nirav Modi and others in connection with cheating of Rs 280 crores in Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The case has been registered on the basis of the FIR registered by Central Bureau of Investigation. 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.

The CBI had booked diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017.

State-owned Punjab National Bank on Wednesday said it has detected a USD 1.77 billion scam in which billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

PNB has suspended 10 officers over the USD 1.77 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) scam and referred the matter to CBI for investigation.

Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said this seems to be an isolated case and is not going to impact other lenders.

"The finance ministry has taken proactive steps by asking the lender to report the matter to CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) so that action can be taken quickly," he told PTI.

"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. "Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad."

Three other jewellers, Gitanjali, Ginni and Nakshatra are under the scanner with the CBI and ED looking at their arrangements with various banks and end use of money, a senior official of a public sector bank told PTI.

No immediate comments were available from these companies.

Last week, PNB had lodged an FIR with the CBI stating that fraudulent LoUs worth Rs 280.7 crore were first issued on January 16. At the time, PNB had said it was digging into records to examine the magnitude of the fraud.

In the complaint, PNB had named three diamond firms -- Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds -- saying they had approached it on January 16 with a request for buyers' credit for making payment to overseas suppliers.

The bank sought 100 per cent cash margins for issuing LoUs for raising buyers' credit, which was contested by the firms, saying they had availed of the facility from as early as 2010.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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First Published : 15 Feb 2018, 09:32:00 AM