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Nirav Modi’s location unknown, not in touch with officials: MEA

2/17/2018

Agencies, New Delhi On a day when passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, two key accused in the Rs. 11,300 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, were suspended for a month, the Ministry of External Affairs said it was not aware about Nirav Modi’s location. ``I can say with confidence that this gentleman is not in touch with any of our officials and frankly at this stage we are not aware about his location,’’ MEA official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said while replying to queries about Nirav Modi at his media briefing. The spokesperson said the accused may be in any country but they cannot move anywhere after the suspension of their passports. Both Mr Modi and Mr Choksi, diamond merchants and high-profile jewellers, have been accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of defrauding the PNB under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). ``On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967,’ MEA said in a press release here on Friday. ``Mr. Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr. Mehul Chinubhai Choksi have been asked to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967. If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation,’ the MEA said. In searches conducted by the ED on the premises of Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems in several locations in the country on Thursday, the probe agency seized valuables worth over Rs. 5,100 crores. The opposition has mounted a scathing criticism of the NDA government for the alleged scam in the PNB.

Unpublished data shows India’s fraud problems extend far beyond PNB

  • State-run banks reported 8,670 loan fraud cases over last five fiscal years - RBI data
  • Amount involved in the loan frauds totals $9.58 bln - RBI data
  • RBI says frauds one of the emerging risks to the financial sector
  • Rising frauds to add to banks’ $147 bln bad loan problem
Investors may have been shocked when one of India’s biggest banks disclosed a $1.77 billion fraud by a billionaire jeweller, but the central bank has recorded data that shows the problem runs far deeper and wider. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, which a Reuters reporter obtained through a right-to-information request, shows state-run banks have reported 8,670 “loan fraud” cases totalling 612.6 billion rupees ($9.58 billion) over the last five financial years up to March 31, 2017. In India, loan frauds typically refer to cases where the borrower intentionally tries to deceive the lending bank and does not repay the loan.

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