Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday registered Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case against billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and several others in connection with cheating of Rs 280 crore from Punjab National Bank (PNB). Later in the day, the ED raided four locations Mumbai, three in Surat and two in Delhi in relation to the PNB fraud case. The case was registered after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR against the diamond merchant and his accomplices. Reportedly, a full-scale probe has been launched into the case after fraudulent transactions worth at least Rs 11,000 crore in PNB surfaced and caught the nationwide attention.
According to reports, Nirav Modi came under the CBI scanner after a complaint was lodged against him by PNB for allegedly cheating the bank of Rs 280 crore through his firms last year. CBI moved in swiftly and booked Modi, his brother, his wife and another business partner under the charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. But in the latest development on Wednesday, when a mid-corporate branch of Punjab National Bank in Mumbai revealed that the fraud executed by Modi can go up as high as Rs 11,000 crore, it has got all the involved authorities on their toes.
While conducting a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), India’s second largest state-owned bank, PNB, claimed that they have discovered fraudulent transactions worth $1.8 billion. The bank said, “The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance.” The bank immediately suspended its ten employees for failing to detect the fraud and later filed another complaint against Nirav Modi and his firms for cheating the bank.
The actual amount of money cheated from the bank reportedly stands at a staggering Rs 11,515 crore, which is eight times the net income of the bank. After the fraud came out in the open, the stock value of Punjab National Bank took a huge dip on Thursday morning. The stock of PNB was down by 6.20% trading at Rs 136.80 per share at the BSE on Thursday at 11:15 AM.