India arrests 3 over huge bank fraud

Security guards stand inside a Nirav Modi showroom during a raid by the Enforcement Directorate a government agency that fights financial crime in New Delhi India

These three were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has also named 10 other directors and officials as accused in the scam.

Yesterday's arrests came after a money laundering case was registered against Modi and a few others, including members of his family, Shetty and Kharat.

The Congress chief alleged that businessman Nirav Modi has fled the country with Rs 20,000 crore of that public money.

"No documents or applications for issue of fraudulent LOUs issued by Shetty are available at PNB office", it said. Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and uncle Mehul Choksi are partners in Diamonds R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds, which has shops in foreign locations such as Hong Kong, Dubai, and NY.

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The source added that even senior Reserve Bank of India officials are also being looked at by the investigation bureau, since it seemed odd how the RBI did not catch these transactions despite conducting internal audit of bank branches every year.

Involvement of more PNB officials and outsiders can not be ruled out, the CBI said, adding that Shetty was not cooperating with the investigation.

As per the FIR lodged with the CBI, Shetty and Kharat had transmitted SWIFT instructions to the above-mentioned banks for raising buyers credit and for funding the Nostro accounts of PNB, without due procedure.

Bhat was Modi's authorised signatory.

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Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Saturday said he will file a case against Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Rahul Gandhi while speaking to media also asked PM Modi to issue a clarification in the PNB scam which Congress alleged was Rs 22,000 crore scam instead of Rs 11,300 crore.

The PNB fraud pertains to issuance of fake Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) to companies associated with billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi by errant PNB employees, which enabled these companies to raise buyers credit from global branches of other Indian lenders.

Defending one of the accused Kharat, his lawyer Kudrat Sheikh said that his client has no role in the scam.

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Since March 2017, banks had actually extended loans and warranties worth Rs 17,600 crore to business connected to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the tax department stated in a note seen by news agency Reuters.

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