Modi says that the bank’s actions restricted its ability to recover the dues, which he claims are a little over Rs 5,000 cr.

Nirav Modi hits back at PNB says banks undue haste destroyed his brand
news News Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 11:15

The prime accused in the Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, Nirav Modi, has written to the bank, blaming it's haste for the entire issue and having destroyed his brand as well as business. 

It was this haste, he claims, which closed all his options to be able to pay back the dues. 

As per a Business Standard report, Modi also wrote to banks asking them to pay salaries to the 2,200 employees working in his companies. 

He also claimed that his brother, wife and other relatives booked in the case have nothing to do with the operations of his companies. 

“In the anxiety to recover your dues immediately, despite my offer (on February 13, a day before the public announcement, and on February 15,) your actions have destroyed my brand and the business and have now restricted your ability to recover all the dues leaving a trail of unpaid debts,” Modi is quoted as saying in his letter. 

Modi also claims that the dues are a lot lesser than what the bank is claiming. According to him, his firm owes the banks a little over Rs 5,000 crore. 

"The erroneously cited liability resulted in a media frenzy which led to immediate search and seizure of operations, and which in turn resulted in Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International effectively ceasing to be going-concerns,” he said. 

He added, “This thereby jeopardised our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks.”

Modi further claims that all these years, the money for repayments of the advances went through PNB and it had been receiving full payments with interest, on time.

He claims that PNB had been earning billions of rupees as bank charges over the years on the buyers credit facility extended by it to the three firms under the scanner. 

Further, Modi claimed in his letter that the inventory, including assets and receivables of Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International and three other firms could have settled the pending dues to the banks. The valuation of the firms stood at Rs 65 billion, Modi says. 

Meanwhile, the CBI on Monday arrested PNB’s Brady House branch (Mumbai) Chief Manager Bechu B. Tewari and two of his colleagues in the multi-crore bank fraud case, an official said.

Tewari was arrested along with Yashwant Joshi, Scale II Manager (Forex department) and and Praful Sawant, Scale I officer (Export), after their day long questioning by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths in Mumbai.

The CBI also conducted searches at their residences located at Navi Mumbai, Andheri, and Dombivili. 

The agency officials also conducted raids at the offices of Nirav Modi group companies at Peninsula Business Park, Lower Parel while the searches at PNB's Brady house branch - where Rs 11,300 crore fraud took place - have concluded. 

The CBI's move comes after it arrested former PNB Deputy Manager Gokulnath Shetty, Single Window Operator Manoj Kharat and Nirav Modi group's authorised signatory Hemant Bhat on Saturday.  

CBI investigators said that Tewari was responsible for supervising the work of Shetty and his manager to ensure entry of authorised SWIFT or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication messages only from the system. 

Meanwhile, the Central Vigilance Commissioner has asked PNB to conduct a thorough investigation into the case to determine how the irregularities went undetected for seven years despite conducting audits and submit a report in 10 days.

(With IANS inputs)

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