Modi Bank Fraud

Forward Bloc's youth wing activists protest the Punjab National Bank in the wake of an alleged multi-crore fraud outside its zonal office in Kolkata Feb. 26. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — Calling the "art of leaving after defrauding banks" the new normal under the Narendra Modi government, the opposition Congress March 1 alleged another jeweler, Jatin Mehta has duped banks, including the Punjab National Bank, of Rs. 6,712 crore.

"Dupe, deceive, defraud and depart" is the new badge of honor for scamsters, said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should remain on 'Maun Vrat.'

The Congress further alleged that the amount involved in the 'Jan-Dhan-Gaban Yojana' under the National Democratic Alliance government had now risen to Rs. 39,000 crore. 

The Congress party said following the discovery of the PNB fraud by accused Palanpur, Gujarat, jewelers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, another Palanpur jeweler, Jatin Mehta, is discovered to have duped the banks, including the PNB, of Rs. 6,712 crore. 

"This exposure of Rs. 6,712 crore is of three Mehta companies – Winsome Diamonds and Jewelry Limited, Forever Precious Jewelry and Diamonds Limited, and Su Raj Diamonds. 

"The duping methodology is the same as that of Nirav Modi. Gold was imported based on letters of credit issued by Indian banks. Jewelry was exported to 13 entities in Dubai, who refused to pay and the money vanished," Surjewala said.

"The three 'Ms' – Modi, Mehul and Mehta – have followed the same modus operandi – raise money through Letters of Credit, fleece and fly away to foreign shores. Total money involved in such scams have now risen to Rs. 39,000 crore," he added.

"Mehta's Winsome Group had defaulted, after which complaints were filed by affected banks with the Central Bureau of Investigation as also the Economic Offenses Wing of Mumbai Police in February 2014.

"The annual financial statement of Winsome Diamonds and Jewelry Limited for 2013-14 fiscal filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs categorically records the fact of complaints filed by banks with the CBI and EOW," Surjewala said. 

Surjewala said Mehta and his wife had fled India.

"They gave up their Indian citizenship on June 2, 2016, and settled down in international tax haven of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, with whom the Indian government has no extradition treaty. The modus operandi is the same – flout, fleece and fly," the Congress leader added.

"Why did the CBI register an FIR on April 5, 2017, after a delay of three-and-a-half years, although the banks had lodged complaints with the CBI as early as February 2014?" Surjewala asked.

He also asked: "Why didn't government agencies, as well as Ministries of Corporate Affairs and Finance, take action against Mehta and others?"

He also sought the identities of those protecting Mehta. "Does it emanate from his close relations with an industrial house closest to the prime minister?" he asked.

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