‘Modi model of governance’ says Congress after Bombay HC pulls up PNB for inaction on Nirav Modi’s fraud

Nirav Modi, currently lodged in a London jail, is considered close to the ruling BJP

Nirav Modi (photo: IANS)
Nirav Modi (photo: IANS)

NH Political Bureau

The Bombay High Court has pulled up Punjab National Bank (PNB) for not taking steps to recover over Rs 13,000 crore from the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi.

Nirav Modi, currently lodged in a London jail, is considered close to the ruling BJP.

Born in Gujarat in a business family, Nirav Modi fled India in 2018 with his family after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launched an investigation against him based on the complaint lodged by the PNB. 

Hearing separate pleas filed by the PNB and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), both staking claims over Modi’s properties, the Bombay HC on Tuesday said, “Huge amounts of money involved, and no steps taken by the bank. After all, this is public money.”

The court has asked the ED and PNB to file their replies in two weeks. The PNB has filed an appeal against an October 2022 order of the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, which had allowed the ED to confiscate 12 properties worth over Rs 500 crores, out of 21 attached properties.

The PNB claimed that it has a right over the 12 properties as the bank was a creditor. On the other hand, the ED said that it has a right over the remaining 9 properties of Nirav Modi since it was the investigating agency.

Reacting to it, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala attacked Modi. “Nirav Modi chills in London…This is the ‘Modi model’ of governance!” he said.

Nirav Modi along with his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, and some PNB employees defrauded the PNB, using fake Letters of Undertakings (LoUs).

Like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi had also fled the country and is said to have ‘bought’ the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. It is worth recalling here that the comradeship between PM Modi and Choksi was so strong that the PM used to refer to Choksi as his bhai. During the launch of the gold monetisation scheme in 2015 at PM's official residence in Delhi, Modi showered praise at Choksi who was attending the ceremony.

As per the charge sheet filed by the CBI, Nirav Modi got his first fraudulent guarantee from PNB on 10 March 2011 and managed to get 1,212 more such guarantees over the next 74 months. The PNB had lodged an FIR in January 2018 with CBI stating that fraudulent LoUs worth Rs 2.8 billion (Rs 280.7 crore). Later, it was revealed that the fraud ballooned to over Rs 14,000 crore.

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