Punjab National Bank received gold bribes involved in $2 billion PNB fraud case

Vastavam web: An official of Punjab National Bank received gold and diamond jewellery from a billionaire jeweller accused of being involved in a $2 billion bank fraud, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)told a court on Saturday.The state lender in January uncovered the alleged fraud in which several bank officials were suspected of colluding with jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi to issue fraudulent letters of undertakings (LoUs), for their companies to raise loans from overseas branches of mostly Indian banks.

The agency told the court that Yashwant Joshi, who worked as a manager in the forex department of the Mumbai branch that is at the centre of the fraud, admitted to having received two gold coins weighing 60 grams and a pair of gold and diamond earrings from Modi.“This indicates that he was in collusion with the beneficiary accused persons to cheat the bank,” CBI Inspector D. Damodaran said in a court filing.“He also obtained illegal gratification from the beneficiary party for continuing issuance of fraudulent LoUs.”

Joshi, who was committed to judicial custody by the Mumbai court along with four other PNB officials and an associate of Modi, could not be contacted for comment.PNB, India’s second-biggest state lender, has mainly accused two low-level employees of the Brady House branch of issuing the LoUs without making corresponding entries in the bank’s main software, helping the fraud to go undetected for years.

The CBI, however, has expanded its investigation and arrested two internal auditors of the branch, among others.“Modi appears to be the prima donna in the whole saga of the fraud perpetrated on the PNB,” the directorate said in a filing to the court seen.

“The case involves a circuitous web of routes created by the said Modi and in such circumstances, the fraudulent transactions appear to be in the personal knowledge and exclusive domain of Nirav Modi”.