After PNB scam, Mehul Choksi defaulted on Rs 1.21 billion to J&K Bank

Mehul Choksi
Punjab National Bank, it seems, isn't the only lender that has been left high and dry by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The Jammu and Kashmir Bank has reportedly said that Choksi, currently out of the country, defaulted on a Rs 1.21-billion loan. 

According to an Economic Times report, a senior official of the bank said the loan amount of Rs 1.21 billion, which has now risen to Rs 1.5 billion including interest, was provided to Gitanjali Gems by the bank's Mumbai branch.

While raids were conducted at Choksi's premises last week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also searched the Gitanjali Gems showroom in Jammu's Udhampur district and seized gold jewellery and diamonds worth Rs 25 million. The Jammu and Kashmir Bank has so far not taken any action against either the defaulter or the bank officials who sanctioned the loans.

The financial daily quoted a bank official as saying, "We are collecting all details of the case. However, no official from that period has been under investigation or faced any enquiry till now." A meeting between the Indian Banks' Association and Jammu and Kashmir Bank scheduled on Wednesday was delayed.

The J&K Bank came under criticism from legislators of the Opposition parties last month for its non-performing assets. The Opposition even wanted a debate on the weak financial condition of the bank. 

According to the report, an Opposition leader,  CPI(M)'s Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, said the bank's NPAs had increased to over Rs 50 billion. 

The lender said J&K Bank's net NPAs narrowed to Rs 24.8 billion or 4.29 per cent of net advances in the three months ended December from Rs 26.9 billion or 5.99 per cent a year earlier.

The Income Tax Department on Wednesday attached Rs 1.45 billion belonging to jeweller Nirav Modi. To date, the IT department has attached a total of 141 bank accounts/fixed deposits of the group.

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