PNB fraud LIVE: I-T dept attaches Gitanjali Group's SEZ property worth Rs 1,200 crore

PNB fraud LIVE: I-T dept attaches Gitanjali Group's SEZ property worth Rs 1,200 crore

The ED seized Nirav Modi's nine luxury cars, including a Rolls Royce Ghost and 2 Mercedes Benz GL 350 CDIs, on Thursday. The agency earlier sealed the diamantaire's several properties across the country, including sea-facing property in Mumbai's Alibaug.

The ED seized Nirav Modi's nine luxury cars, including a Rolls Royce Ghost, Porsche Panamera, two Mercedes Benz GL class, three Honda cars and a Toyota Fortuner, on Thursday. The agency earlier sealed the diamantaire's several properties across the country, including sea-facing property in Mumbai's Alibaug. The CBI also recovered crucial documents from the office of Firestar International finance chief Vipul Ambani. Overall, the assets worth over Rs 6,000 crore have been seized so far. Though his whereabouts are still unknown, the agencies wants to cripple Nirav Modi's empire in India before zeroing in on his properties across Hong Kong, Belgium and Dubai. The ED has asked Sebi to freeze Nirav's maternal uncle Mehul Choksi's shares in Gitanjali, a company which is also accused of perpetrating the fraud. However, in a dampener to the agencies, Choksi's around 78.56 per cent of the promoters' shares in Gitanjali Gems were pledged in December.

The Opposition parties are up in arms against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence, and further delay in his arrest could jeopardise the BJP's poll prospects. Congress President Rahul Gandhi's has slammed the PM and the FM over his deafening silence, which, he alleged, shows where the PM's loyalties lie. Shiv Sena in editorial mouthpiece 'Saamana' has said "Nirav Modi has been a partner of the BJP and was at the forefront in helping the BJP collect funds for elections". Nirav Modi, in his second letter to his employees, has told they should "look for other career opportunities" as he's unable to pay salaries due to freezing of his bank accounts.

9.15pm: Nirav Modi, for the second time, has declined to appear before the ED for questioning. The agency is now planning to send him the third notice, which, if he refuses, will make things worse for the billionaire, as it will only help the agency in his extradition process.

8.22pm: The Income Tax (I-T) department has attached Gitanjali Group's SEZ property worth over Rs 1,200 crore in Hyderabad. The department has attached total 141 bank accounts/FDs of the group so far.

6.59pm: Surender Mehta of Indian Bullion and Jewellers' Association has raises doubts over the probe agencies' evaluation of Nirav Modi's seized assets of Rs 6,000 crore. "How can the evaluation of Rs 6,000 crore in one single day. Find me a valuer who can value Rs 6,000 crore worth of diamonds in one day. So, it clearly means that this Rs 6,000 crore is Maximum Retail Price of the Nirav Modi shops, and the actual value could be less than Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 3,000 crore."

6.43pm: The ministry of external affairs has said there's no authentic information about the whereabouts of Nirav Modi. "He could be anywhere".

6.37pm: Come up with a concrete plan to settle the loss caused to the PNB by fraudulent issuance of Letter of Undertakings (LoU), says PNB in response to Nirav Modi's letter. "You were getting LoUs issued illegally and in an unauthorised way through few bank officials. Your commitment and undertaking for sparing of the total liability was not backed by providing upfront amounts and timelines. However, should you have any concrete and implementable plan, do revert back," the mail said.

6.06pm: Shares of Punjab National Bank fell over 2 per cent to end at Rs 114.65 on BSE on Thursday. At NSE, shares of the company slipped 2.30 per cent to close at Rs 114.60. Since February 12 till February 19, the stock had fallen almost 28 per cent.

5.55pm: The CBI is questioning a total of 12 arrested accused, including PNB officials, in the Nirav Modi case. The main accused in the case, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, are still on the run.

5.28pm: Vipul Ambani, who was the CFO of Firestar International Group, was also the director in eight of these companies, which worked as shell firms linked to the Nirav Modi Group. Of the eight companies, six are registered at the same address, CBI sources confirm. Over 120 shell companies, registered only at 17 addresses, have been found to be linked with the Firestar Group and Gitanjali Group. Vipul Ambani was allegedly in the know about all the fraud that was going on in the duo's companies.

5.21pm: Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha says: "Ever since 2014, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) have gone up nearly 400 per cent from 2.36 lakh crore to an estimated 9.5 lakh crore as of March 2018, as have the number of frauds perpetrated on the heavily regulated PSU banks."
Two days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held auditors responsible for failing to detect those who were defrauding banks, he said the government was planning to implement stringent auditing standards by notifying Section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013, reported ANI.

4.30pm: PNB in a statement has said the bank had informed its board, BSE, NSE, on February 5 when its initial probe came out. When the actual amount enhanced to Rs 11,400 crore, it also lodged an FIR with CBI. The bank says if the probe formation had gone public, it would have hurt the recovery prospects. "We (PNB) have enough assets/capital to meet liability as per law," reports ANI. 

4.20pm: India Today reports Actor Bipasha Basu has slammed Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Gems of using her pictures despite the ending of her contract with the company. "Tried to make GiLi stop using my pictures."

4.00pm: The CBI has confirmed the involvement of two arrested accused, Kapil Khandelwal, CFO, Nakshatra and Gitanjali Group and Kavita Mankikar, executive assistant and authorised signatory of three accused firms, reports NDTV. Their testimony is crucial to know how the scam took place, and that who all might be involved. 

3.15pm: During questioning, Rejesh Jindal, who headed Brady House branch between 2009 and May 2011, and other arrested PNB officials including Gokulnath Shetty, told the agency they merely followed a practice - of issuing fake Letters of Understanding (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credits (FLCs)  - that started in 2008, reports Firstpost. Jindal was arrested after his questioning on Tuesday. 

3.10pm: As per the CBI, Firestar Group finance head Vipul Ambani was aware about the fake Letter of Undertakings (LoUs), which were issued by PNB's Brady House branch's former deputy GM, Gokulnath Shetty, between 2008 and May 2017. The probe reveals Ambani was in constant contact with Brady branch officials as well as high-ups in the bank's zonal offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

Also read: CBI arrests Vipul Ambani, first big arrest in the Rs 11,400-crore scam

3.00pm: In a major shake-up, the country's second largest public sector bank, PNB, has transferred over 1,000 employees who have completed three years at a PNB branch, reports India Today. The decision comes in light of a mega bank scam at the PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai.