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GJEPC condemns bank fraud, assures support in probe

twitter-logoPTI | February 17, 2018 | Updated 20:05 IST

Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) The Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) today condemned the Rs 11,400-crore bank fraud allegedly involving diamond czar Nirav Modi and hoped the scam will not have any adverse impact on the export industry.

The government-promoted industry body offered support to agencies investigating the scam and assured of action against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the Gitanjali Group promoter, if they are found guilty in the scam.

Both Modi and Choksi are members of GJEPC.

"The Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the entire gems and jewellery industry. We strongly condemn any sort of unlawful and illegal actions by any individual, trade or otherwise," GJEPC Chairman Pramod Kumar Agarwal said in a statement here.

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has been rocked by a USD 1.77 billion scam where billionaire jeweller Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

The CBI has registered an FIR against Modi, his companies and Choksi in connection with alleged fraudulent transactions of Rs 11,400 crore at PNB.

"At GJEPC, we have always sensitised the financial institutions and the government for taking right kind of risk management measures to prevent such incidents.

"The Council is ready to assist and support all investigating agencies in all possible ways to reach the right conclusion and punish the guilty," he said.

He said GJEPC has a disciplinary committee which will take action against members in case of any fraudulent action comes to light.

"We are keeping a close watch on the investigation into the case. Once the facts are out, the committee will take appropriate action against Modi and Mehul Choksi," Agarwal told PTI.

He said the council strongly believes this incident will not have any contagion effect on the gems and jewellery export industry.

"When thousands of exporters undertake business lawfully adhering to all norms and practices, incidents of this kind can only take place due to non-adherence of procedures and norms," the GJEPC chairman added.

The Indian diamond industry, with over 6,000 exporters and thousands of manufacturing units, is world leader in processing diamonds.

The total diamond export stood at USD 23 billion in FY17 with a value addition of USD 7 billion, according to GJEPC.

The gems and jewellery sector accounts for 7 per cent of the countrys GDP, 15 per cent of Indias merchandise exports and employs more than 4.5 million people, it said. PTI SM RSY SA

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