PNB case: Passports of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi cancelled

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He has further accusations from the bank of defrauding Rs 11,300 crores (£1.25 billion).

The passports of Mr Modi and Mr Choksi were revoked after they failed to reply to a notice issued on February 16 by the MEA, asking them to reply within a week on why their passports should not be cancelled.

In the wake of SWIFT-related fraud involving significant amount, reported recently by Punjab National Bank (PNB), RBI in the statement also reiterated its confidential instructions and mandated the banks to implement, within the stipulated deadlines, the prescribed measures for strengthening the SWIFT operating environment in banks.

Besides summoning Modi's wife Ami, an American citizen, the central probe agency has called his uncle and Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi for questioning in the case on February 26 at the ED office in Mumbai, they said.

The imported watches were seized from the 60 plastic containers from several locations connected to the diamond czar during the searches carried out in the last few days in connection with an ongoing probe in the Rs 11,300 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.

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On Thursday, the Income Tax (IT) Department attached the special economic zone (SEZ) property of Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Group in Hyderabad, sources at the department said. The same is again totally false and incorrect.

Last week, in a regulatory filing, Allahabad Bank had said it has an exposure of almost United States dollars 366.87 million in the form LoUs issued by PNB. "At no stage such facilities were extended by our bank to your three partner firms", sources said citing mail response sent by PNB General Manager (international banking division) Ashwini Vats to Nirav Modi.

Choksi highlighted the "situation of fear and injustice" created against him and the company, suggesting the 3,500 employees to scout for alternate career options due to the "uncertainty looming over payment of dues", termination of office operations, and "unfair investigation".

Besides, tightening internal risk mechanism and vigilance, banks have to look for higher cover to guard against such fraud where employees are involved, the official said, adding, this will help insulate the balance sheet. They also clarified that the bank hasn't appointed audit firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) as investigators in the fraud case and that the reports claiming so are "totally incorrect".

Stock exchanges had sought clarification on Modi's comment that "PNB has closed all options to recover dues by going public".

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