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The CBI on Tuesday arrested five senior executives in connection with the multi-crore PNB fraud including Vipul Ambani (President, Finance, Firestar International/Diamonds group), Kavita Mankikar (executive assistant and authorised signatory of 3 accused firms), Arjun Patil (senior executive, Firestar group), Kapil Khandelwal (CFO, Nakshatra and Gitanjali group) and Niten Shahi (Manager, Gitanjali).
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it had alerted banks about the need to prevent any “potential malicious use of the SWIFT infrastructure” at least three times since August 2016.
The Income Tax Department raided 20 premises linked to Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi and associated firms in connection with a tax evasion case, official sources said. The searches were being conducted in Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and few other cities against 13 companies linked to Choksi and Gitanjali Gems.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley broke his silence over the fraud saying the government will chase down cheaters till the end. Jaitley also took the management of the lender to task for its failure to check the delinquents.
The CBI examined 10 PNB officials, including present Executive Director-level officers. Eight executives of Nirav Modi’s company and 10 Gitanjali group officials were also questioned. CBI said that they have found a new farmhouse of Nirav Modi in Alibagh near Mumbai where searches are underway.
News agency Reuters reported that CBI counsel has said to the court that Punjab National Bank fraud conspiracy may have been going on since 2008.
The Supreme Court (SC) agreed to hear a plea seeking an independent inquiry into the scam. A bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will hear the plea filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda.
Rating agency Fitch on Tuesday placed Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) Viability Rating of ‘bb’ on Rating Watch Negative. The decision means that the country’s second-largest lender may see a rating downgrade. Moody’s has also placed the lender under review for downgrade. Currently, PNB has an overall Baa2 rating with a stable outlook from Moody’s.
Prime accused Nirav Modi, in a letter, hit back at the Punjab National Bank, saying its ‘overzealousness’ has shut the doors on his ability to clear his dues, which he claims are much lower than the amount of Rs 11,400 declared by the bank
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