Govt looked other way when Nirav Modi slipped out of India: Congress

Investigators launched raids across Mumbai and New Delhi, targeting offices and homes linked to Nirav Modi, a billionaire jeweller and diamond merchant the bank has accused of being at the centre of the fraud. Nirav Modi is a famous jeweller who is known for his intricate yet modern designs in diamond jeweller randing from five lakhs to crores.

The summons came one day after authorities raided the homes and offices of Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi, seizing almost $800 million in jewels and gold, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. He is worth $1.73bn according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India's rich list. He is the founder of United States dollars 2.3 billion Firestar Diamond and has business spread across three continents from China in Asia to Hawaii Islands in North America.

Representatives for Modi did not respond to several requests seeking comment. Late on Wednesday, the ED registered a money laundering case against Nirav Modi and others on the basis of the CBI FIR.

The bank has sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs 11,400 crore. The agency also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.

He said the scam involved over 30 banks including Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Oversees Bank, Corporation Bank, Andhra Bank, Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and the Export Import Bank of India.

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Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surejewala raised questions on whether Nirav Modi had been tipped off following which he left the country. The officials added that Modi's wife and Mehul Choksi, his uncle and business partner, left on January 6.

PNB has suspended 10 officers and referred the matter to CBI for investigation. The two are not related. He also said Nirav did not meet the PM at Davos but arrived on his own for CII group photo event. He joined a photograph of Indian businessmen.

"The committee has asked the finance ministry officials to submit a report before the panel on this fraud", another member who was present in the meeting told PTI. His flagship company Firestar Diamond has said it had no involvement in the case. The trouble comes as India's government is trying to reduce the crippling debts of the country's embattled lenders, including PNB.

But he also insisted that "PNB is committed in clean banking" and that is why they reported it immediately to the regulators.

On Thursday, PNB shares sank more than 14 percent, its biggest fall since 2009, after having dropped 9.8 percent the day before.

  • Darren Santiago