Nirav Modi, the diamond mogul at the centre of PNB's Rs 11,000-crore fraud
News of a humongous fraud worth whooping Rs 11,000 crore unearthed in one of the branches of Punjab National Bank (PNB) rocked the finance corridors on last Wednesday.
The fraud came to light when PNB informed stock exchanges about the fraudulent transactions in its South Mumbai corporate branch.
The bank didn't name any person or company, but it had lodged a complaint with CBI on January 31 naming billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi in a Rs 280-crore fraud.
Modi has so far personally restrained from making a comment on the issue, but his company Firestar Diamond has denied any role in the case. The bank after unearthing the fraud has filed another complaint with the CBI on February 13.
Who is Nirav Modi
According to FortuneIndia, “He was born into a Gujarati family and founded Firestar Diamond. He has a booming retail business across top cities of the world including Delhi, Mumbai, New York, London, Hong Kong and Macau. In 2015, the inauguration of his first store in New York’s Madison Avenue was attended by Donald Trump.” He is also the youngest Indian in the Forbes Billionaires List 2017.
Modi grew up in Belgium. After dropping out of Wharton Business School, he joined his uncle Mehul Choksi in India to train in the diamond business. Later, he started the Nirav Modi jewellery brand and has posh clients in the international market. Last year, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was also roped in to be the global ambassador for the brand.
Priyanka had then said: “Nirav and I are fiercely proud of our heritage and are united by the idea of bringing a modern India to the global forefront. I have worn the brand on many occasions and have always been impressed with the exquisite designs, the finesse, the clarity and femininity of the jewels.”
Sources in PNB say that the irregularities started sometime in 2011 but went undetected until a few weeks ago when an executive, named by CBI, retired last summer ending the unsanctioned rollover of letters of undertaking, based on which the companies were raising funds overseas.