SBI has no direct exposure to jeweller Nirav Modi: Chairman

Javier Stokes
February 18, 2018

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of helping a billionaire jeweller to defraud one of India's largest banks of millions.

Meanwhile, the state-run lender said it would honour all "bona fide commitments" to other banks, although it stopped short of accepting the entire liability of the fraud, pointing out that matter was under investigation. Mehul Choski is being portrayed as the kingpin of all these frauds and the attention of investigators is now passing on to companies like Gitanjali Gems, Diamond R Us, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and 150 shell companies.

Representatives for Modi did not respond to several requests seeking comment.

Two diamond jewellery boutiques of Modi in New Delhi - in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony - were also raided. That amount is nearly a third of the bank's market value, and many times its quarterly profits.

Modi, 46, has been a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013.

"During the searches conducted in their offices and stores across the country, what came to our notice was that immediately after demonetisation, a lot of cash purchase happened at his stores, which was done by very high profile buyers".

Police also arrested a third person, Hemant Bhat, whom the source described as the "authorised signatory" of the companies tied to Nirav Modi.

The scale of the fraud has sparked a slew of probes into the lender, as well as into Modi, his uncle Choksi and companies affiliated to both.

FCC investigating Ajit Pai over relationship with Sinclair
Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, who sought the IG investigation. Any claim that chairman Pai is modifying the rules now to benefit one particular company is completely baseless.

Mr Choksi is head of the Gitanjali Group, which has about 4,000 shops across India.

In a statement Wednesday, the bank said it had discovered $1.8 billion of fraudulent activity involving a few account holders at one of its branches in Mumbai.

The CBI finished the examination of PCs seized from premises connected to him and was experiencing the two new dissensions got from Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Tuesday that it had been duped of Rs 11,400 crore to choose its future game-plan.

The Congress, however, alleged that the government did nothing to stop "independent India's biggest bank fraud" despite being informed of it in July, 2016. The men are not related.

According to the IT official what raised their suspicion that bulk of these purchases were of diamonds and solitaires, and jewellery above Rs 20 lakhs, which they suspect were bought to dispose their unaccounted cash."In fact, purchase of diamonds alone accounted for Rs 158.49 crore, all in cash".

The brand made its mark in some style after one of his earliest pieces was featured on the front cover of a Christies catalogue and was sold by the auction house in Hong Kong for $3.8m.

He started trading under his own name in 2010, specialising in diamonds.

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