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Sunday 19 January 2020

Indian Banks Association discusses Niravgate

Mumbai: The apex body of bankers on Saturday met here to discuss the Rs 11,400-crore scam at Punjab National Bank allegedly caused by the absconding diamond trader Nirav Modi and a clutch of his family-run companies.

The meeting of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) was attended by senior officials of public and private sector lenders, sources said this evening.

Interestingly, the meeting, earlier scheduled to be held at the IBA headquarters in Cuffe Parade, south Mumbai, was changed at the last moment to the SBI headquarters at Nariman Point, apparently to avoid the media.

Among those present were Allahabad Bank managing director and chief executive and also IBA chairperson Usha Ananthasubramanian, Bank of India managing director and chief executive Dinabandhu Mohapatra, ICICI Bank chief financial officer N S Kannan and IBA deputy chief executive B Rajkumar.

“The discussion centred around how to recover the money (from those involved in the fraud),” said a banker without disclosing the details.

State-owned PNB has been rocked by a $1.77 billion scam where billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertakings (LoUs) from the Brady House branch in south Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other lenders.

The other banks which have or have had exposure to the fraud include State Bank of India (over $221 million), Allahabad Bank and Axis Bank among others. Some overseas lenders are also believed to have had exposure to the fraud.

Law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for Nirav Modi and his family and also his uncle Mehul Choksi who heads the Gitanjali Group.

The ED claims to have recovered over Rs 5,400 crore worth of diamonds and bullion from the raids on Modi’s enterprises since the scam came to light earlier this week.

Modi and his family members left the country in early January and are believed to be in New York.

The enforcement agencies have sought the Interpol help to trace the billionaire jewellery designer and bring him back to the country.

The external affairs ministry Friday suspended with immediate effect the passports of the diamantaire and his business partner Choksi, both prime accused in the scam, for a month.

PTI

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