BJP blames banking system for PNB fraud case

A Nirav Modi showroom

"ED seized jewellery, gold, diamond, precious metal and stones at stock price of Rs 5,100 crore in Nirav Modi case yesterday". "Independent valuation has been started".

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also arrested a third person, Hemant Bhat, whom a source described as the "authorised signatory" of the companies tied to Nirav Modi.

The notices were handed over to the directors of the firms of the two businessmen, the officials said.

However, the Ministry of External Affairs, on the suggestion of Enforcement Directorate's has suspended the validity of the passports of Nirav Modi and Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks.

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Stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged fraud in Punjab National Bank, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday linked it to demonetisation of high-value currency in November 2016. The prominent jeweler has been given one week to contest the suspension, the government said, following which it will be revoked. His brother Nishal Modi, a Belgian citizen, also left on 1 January, one of the officers said.

Nirav Modi has reportedly assured the PNB authorities repayment of the entire amount he is alleged to have embezzled, but has been asked to provide a concrete plan. The agency is probing if bank funds were laundered and the proceeds used by the accused to create illegal assets.

Nirav Modi is one of India's richest people, with a personal wealth of $1.75bn, according to Forbes.

The arrest, which is considered to be a major crackdown on the PNB scam, was made on Saturday.

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The official added that the agency had also filed complaint against Choksi's Gitanjali gems company.

The arrest comes after the second case registered by the CBI against two PNB officials and others of the Gitanjali Gems group in relation to the fraud.

As per the FIR lodged with the CBI, Shetty and Kharat had transmitted SWIFT instructions to the above-mentioned banks for raising buyers credit and for funding the Nostro accounts of PNB, without due procedure. Modi's wife Ami, a U.S. citizen, left on 4 January and Choksi on 6 January.

The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) will approach the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to seek clarity on how the losses will have be managed after the Rs 11,400 crore fraud which has engulfed state owned Punjab National Bank (PNB).In an acrimonious meeting at the State Bank of India headquaters in Mumbai lenders tried to shift blame on liabilities arising out of the fraud to PNB.

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Chartered Accountants' apex body ICAI has also taken suo motu cognisance of the Dollars 1.77 billion fraud and has sought information from investigation agencies, besides setting up a group to study the systemic issues arising out of the case.

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