NEW DELHI: Raids conducted by the CBI at 20 official and residential premises of jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his three relatives on February 3 and 4 yielded 95 documents, including import bills and applications relating to imports. The investigating agency also sealed the residence of Nirav’s wife Ami Modi at Worli in Mumbai.
The imaging (copying) of the hard discs of the computers seized have been completed and the contents are being analysed to unravel the larger conspiracy and the modus operandi of the accused persons, CBI sources said.
“The complainant bank (PNB) has alleged that overseas Indian banks used the funds of the Letters of Understanding to clear their own liabilities,” a senior CBI official said.
CBI sources said the agency is examining two fresh complaints filed by Punjab National bank (PNB) in connection with fraudulent transactions by prime accused Nirav Modi and his relatives through 142 Letters of Understanding (LoU) and two fresh cases are likely to be filed by Friday.
PNB has named PNB’s junior employees Deputy Manager (retd.) Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Hanumant Kharat, but the agency suspects the role of senior officials in the Rs 12,000 crore scam.
The fraud was detected by PNB’s Mumbai Zonal Office on January 16 when the three partner firms led by Nirav asked approached the bank with a request for issuance of buyers’ credit for making payments to overseas suppliers.
The accused PNB employees on February 9 issued two LoUs for Diamond R US and Solar Exports for $44,15,791.96 and $43,35,391.38 respectively with a due date of payment on January 25, 2018. On February 10, the accused issued three LoUs for the two firms and Stellar Diamond worth $59,42,017.70, $58,43,161.93 and $60,93,321.10 respectively with due date for payment on January 25, 2018. On February 14 last year, three more LoUs worth $58,56,885, $58,62,251.03 and $58,77,064.
The ED on Thursday conducted raids on 17 locations and seized gold, diamonds and stones worth rs 5,100 crore, and sealed six locations owned by Nirav’s companies. According to ED sources, the valuation of the loan scam is likely to increase and more officials of PNB can be involved. ED teams carried out simultaneous raids on Nirav’s offices, showrooms and diamond workshops in Mumbai, Surat (Gujarat) and Delhi.
In the dock
While Punjab National Bank CEO and MD Sunil Mehta on Thursday said that it has taken action against 10 employees, the bank has in its three complaints to the CBI named only two junior employees for the fraudulent issuance of Letters of Understanding causing a staggering loss of over Rs 12,000 crore.
Nirav Modi’s presence with other Indian business leaders for a group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January has sparked a major controversy. While the Congress alleged that Nirav was part of the PM’s delegation to Davos, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad denied the charge, claiming the diamond merchant had been invited by the Confederation of Indian Industries. The business chamber, however, clarified that the jeweller was not associated with it and was “invited by the WEF as he was a member of the forum”. The photograph was issued by the Press Information Bureau and tweeted by the Ministry of External Affairs. Following the controversy on Thursday, the photograph went viral on social media, much to the embarrassment of the government.