New Delhi: The Income Tax (IT) department on Wednesday attached Rs. 145.74 crore belonging to jeweller Nirav Modi. The above amount is found in several bank accounts, which the IT department had attached. Till date, the IT department has attached a total of 141 bank accounts / Fixed Deposits of the group. Meanwhile, Nirav Modi’s lawyer alleged that the Punjab National Bank (PNB) has termed commercial transactions as a fraud.
PNB had lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs. 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems. Vijay Aggarwal, the lawyer of Nirav Modi, told media, “The entire matter was in knowledge of the bank (PNB). The bank took commission of crores of rupees but now it is not accepting it. It was a commercial transaction of the bank which is now being termed as a fraud”.
Aggarwal refuted the reports that Nirav Modi was absconding after the case came to light and questioned that why would he run away from the country leaving behind assets worth over Rs 5,000 crore. “He (Nirav Modi) is not absconding. He has a global business. He was already out on business purposes when this case came to light and now his passport has been revoked. His family members, some of them are foreign nationals, also stay abroad most of the time,” he said.
The lawyer also said that the strategy in this case will be worked out once the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) files its charge-sheet. For those unversed, the Punjab National Bank detected a 1.77 billion dollar scam in which jeweller Nirav Modi acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.
The scam was started in 2011 and was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies. Meanwhile, the PNB filed a second complaint with the CBI on February 13. The CBI had received the complaint from the PNB on January 28 and a case was registered in the case on January 31.