PNB scam won't affect recap plan, bank can take Rs 114-bn hit: Govt sources

A Nirav Modi jewellery showroom in New Delhi’s Defence Colony area on Thursday. Photo: PTI

The Finance Ministry sources on Friday said that Punjab National Bank (PNB) is fully capable of taking the entire hit of Rs 114 billion fraud.

The state-owned corporation, which had earlier detected a $1.77 billion scam including jeweller Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters said that the role of other 4 banks will be probed, and the will have to bear consequences if found to have defaulted the norms.

Furthermore, the sources highlighted that the recapitalisation of the PNB will not be impacted by fraud case.

"The bank will get its recapitalisation share of Rs 50 billion, as allocated earlier," stated the sources.

Earlier today, the bank suspended 8 of its employees, with the total number of suspended employees at 18, which also includes General Manager level officers.

With the internal investigations underway, the Interpol had issued diffusion notice against billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and his business partner and uncle Mehul Choksi.

A diffusion notice is less formal than a notice. It is used to request the arrest or location of individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation.

After almost 24 hours, raids continued at Nirav Modi's boutique in Kala Ghoda in Mumbai. It is alleged that Modi and his associate companies fraudulently acquired PNB guarantees worth $1.7 billion that they later used to obtain overseas loans.

Yesterday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking revocation of passports of Nirav Modi in connection with the PNB fraud case.

Besides Nirav Modi, the agency also asked to revoke the passport of his wife Ami Modi and his relative Mehul Choksi.

Yesterday, the agency also conducted searches at 17 premises of Nirav Modi and Geetanjali Gems across India in connection with the same case. The probe agency also seized stocks of gold, diamond and other precious stones worth Rs 51 billion.

The scam was started in 2011 and was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

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