Friday, 16 November, 2018

PNB scam: CBI arrests 3 more PNB officials

Indian billionaire jeweller denies involvement in $1.8 billion bank fraud case PNB Scam: Who is Vipul Ambani, Arrested in Connection to Rs 11400-Crore Fraud Case?
Rosie Leonard | 21 February, 2018, 09:19

Vijay Aggarwal, the lawyer of businessman Nirav Modi and the main accused in PNB scam, told media, "The entire matter was in knowledge of the bank (PNB). 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". "They want to avoid liability ... that is why they are cooking up this story".

Asked about his legal strategy, he said: "Until there is no chargesheet, there is no strategy. When there is a chargesheet, there will be a strategy". Ever since the scam has unfolded, securities agencies have shown utmost seriousness in seizing the properties of Nirav Modi and his partner and uncle Mehul Choksi, but have been clueless about their whereabouts. Gitanjali Gems (GTGM.NS), in a regulatory filing, denied Choksi's involvement in the alleged fraud.

PNB did not immediately respond to the lawyer's comments.

The CBI also conducted raids at the offices of Nirav Modi group companies in Mumbai, while the searches at PNB's Brady house branch where 11,300 crore rupees fraud took place have concluded. "This thereby jeopardized our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks", Modi wrote in the letter supposedly addressed to PNB management. He moved to the Nirav Modi group sometime in 2013.

"There is nothing that proves Nirav Modi is guilty", Aggarwal said, arguing that his client was not guilty of "any wrongdoing".

As per an official release, PNB's viability rating of "bb" was placed in the Rating Watch Negative (RWN), following the fraud reported recently, and would be resolved once more clarity was received regarding the bank's financial position.

All three appeared in a hot, packed courtroom in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, and they were ordered to remain under police custody until March 3 to allow the CBI to continue its investigation.

The probe in this case pertains to 143 LOUs worth Rs 4,886 crore fraudulently issued by the officials of the PNB.

Shares in PNB, which have lost more than a quarter of their market value since the scandal became public, were up 1 per cent in early trading on Wednesday. The stock was down about one percent at 0930 GMT.

"The primary driver for today's rating action is the risk of weakening of the bank's standalone credit profile, as a result of the discovery of a number of fraudulent transactions", Moody's said.

The agency said their "deliberate acts" of omission in collusion with Shetty and Kharat led to the continuance of concealment and large scale liabilities of PNB to the foreign banks.

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