Nirav Modi, the besieged diamond merchant and the suspected connoisseur of the largest banking scam in the country's history has finally opened up to present his side of the story.
Modi has said that overzealousness and haste on the part of Punjab National Bank’s (PNB's) decision-making authorities have shut the doors on him to pay back his dues.
In the letter dated February 15/16, Modi, addressing the management of Punjab National Bank, wrote that the amount of money he owes to the bank is under Rs 5,000 crore.
Modi said the dues were much less than what the bank is claiming. In the defence of his relatives booked in the cases filed by the central agencies, he has said that they have nothing to do with the operations of the firms that are being investigated.
"The erroneously cited liability resulted in a media frenzy which led to immediate search and seizure of operations, and which in turn resulted in Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International effectively ceasing to be going-concerns.
"As you are aware, this is entirely incorrect and the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is substantially less. Even after your complaint was filed, in good faith I wrote to you saying please sell/allow me to sell Firestar Group or their valuable assets, and recover the dues not just from Firestar Group, but also from the three firms.”
"This could have helped reduce/discharge the debt to the banking system but this is not possible since all my bank accounts have been frozen and assets sealed or seized. This thereby jeopardised our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks," wrote Modi.
"In the anxiety to recover your dues immediately, despite my offer (on February 13, a day before the public announcement, and on 15) your actions have destroyed my brand and the business and have now restricted your ability to recover all the dues leaving a trail of unpaid debts," added Modi, also describing the extended discussions between him, between his representatives, and the bank officers.
Modi said the PNB has wrongly named his family members who are not at all concerned with the operations of the three firms or other companies.
"My wife is not connected with any business operations at all and she has been wrongly named. My uncle is also wrongly named in this complaint since he has an independent and unconnected business and none of them are aware or concerned with my dealings with your bank."
"Whatever may be the consequences I may face for my actions, the haste was, in my humble submission, unwarranted," said Modi requesting the bank to permit him to pay salaries to 2,200 employees from the balance lying in the current accounts of his firms.