Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Diamond dealer wanted for huge bank scam 'seeking asylum in UK'

Kiren Rijiju meeting with the UK Minister Baroness Williams to discuss India-UK joint efforts to deal with Terrorism & Extremism Kiren Rijiju meeting with the UK Minister Baroness Williams to discuss India-UK joint efforts to deal with Terrorism & Extremism
Ginger Lawrence | 12 June, 2018, 11:35

But he fled India in February for an unknown location after being accused of being at the centre of a $1.8-billion fraud involving India's second largest public lender, Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The Indian government in February this year had said that it had revoked the passports of Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

A fugitive Indian billionaire wanted in connection with a massive bank fraud is seeking asylum in Britain, according to a report. Unequal standards: India and UK signed a mutual extradition treaty way back in 1993; but while India did extradite a UK national, Maninderpal Singh Kohli, in the Hannah Foster murder case in 2008, UK has been stonewalling all of India's extradition requests, including of British national Raymond Varley, who's accused of child abuse in Goa.

Britain's Home Office said it does not provide information on individual cases, while Modi could not be contacted by Reuters for comment.

This figure is said to be just a part of the total losses.

The PNB fraud case pertains to the fraudulent use of a banking instrument that is used to raise credit or loans overseas.

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Indian police issued a warrant for the billionaire diamond trader's arrest.

But junior home minister Kiren Rijiju appeared to confirm Nirav Modi's presence in the United Kingdom when he said in Delhi after a meeting with visiting British minister Baroness Williams: "The minister has assured all cooperation, whether it is Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya".

India's government is trying to reduce the crippling debts of the country's embattled state banks, including PNB.

Last month PNB posted the largest ever quarterly loss for an Indian lender - 134.17 billion rupees - largely because it had to set aside funds to pay other banks over the scam.

It said it had incurred a record 134.17 billion-rupee net loss for the January-March quarter, having posted a 2.62 billion-rupee profit in the same period past year.

The instructions for transferring the funds were allegedly issued by a bank employee, Gokulnath Shetty, using an worldwide messaging system for banking called SWIFT platform and without making their subsequent entries in the PNB's internal banking software, thus bypassing scrutiny in the bank, they said.