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PNB Scam: PNB will compensate the loss by selling the confiscated property of fugitive Nirav Modi, court's stand

Pankaj Prasad
Punjab National Bank Scam
Punjab National Bank Scam

Fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi is accused of defrauding the bank of crores of rupees.

Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday filed an application before a special court in Mumbai seeking restitution of assets worth Rs 71 crore of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi. Nirav Modi is accused of defrauding the bank of crores of rupees. PNB has urged the court to restore the properties attached by the probe agencies to recover a part of the dues.

Nirav Modi was declared a fugitive economic offender in December 2019. It is alleged that Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have defrauded PNB to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore through credit facilities. After the scam came to light, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached the assets of Nirav and his family members under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The bank, in its plea, has said that PNB Consortium and UBI Consortium have always carried on their business in good faith in normal banking activities and the bank was unaware of the fraud when they granted loans to Nirav Modi companies. The bank said, at present properties worth only Rs 1,066.41 crore have been freed from attachment under the PMLA, the value of which is insufficient to cover the loss suffered by the bank. The petition states that the claimants being public sector banks, the amount to be recovered is public money.

The application states that some of the properties attached by the ED are subject to market fluctuations and any delay in selling them may result in loss of value. Hence, there is a need to sell the properties immediately to get more value for them.

Some of the seized assets of Nirav Modi include jewelery worth Rs 35.52 lakh from Firestar Diamond Ltd and eight cars including a Bentley. The total value of the properties to be restored is Rs 71.16 crore. On PNB's plea, the court asked the prosecution to file its reply by July 25.