PNB Scam: Through a timeline

Diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have allegedly perpetrated the country’s biggest banking sector scam at Punjab National Bank, mainly by way of issuance of unauthorised Letters of Undertaking (LoUs). Here’s a timeline of the events since the expose:

05 Feb 2018 – ₹280.70-cr fraud suspected at one branch: PNB

In a press release issued on 5 Feb, PNB states it has come across a suspected fraud amounting to ₹280.70 crore involving one branch wherein certain irregularities have been observed on account of people risk. (https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/28070-cr-fraud-suspected-at-one-branch-pnb/article22661454.ece)

Feb 14 – PNB informs the Bombay Stock Exchange that it has detected some “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” in one of its branches in Mumbai to the tune of $1771.69 million (approx). Following the announcement, the share price of the State-owned bank plunges 10%.


Feb 15– The Enforcement Directorate conducts searches in several properties linked to billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi in Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat, and seizes diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore, officials said.


Feb 15 – Nirav Modi fled India on Jan 1, say CBI sources.


Feb 16 – ED summons Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi.
They said both Modi and Choksi were summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and asked to depose within a week’s time.


Feb 16 – PNB fraud expands
Sources claim that as many as 17 banks lent about Rs 3,000 crore to various firms of Nirav Modi, including his flagship firm Firestar International Ltd. These include, besides PNB, Cenral Bank of India (Rs 194 crore), Dena Bank (Rs 153.25 crore), Vijaya Bank (Rs 150.15 crore), Bank of India (Rs 127 crore), Syndicate Bank (Rs 125 crore), Oriental Bank of Commerce (Rs 120 crore), Union Bank of India (Rs 110 crore) and IDBI Bank and Allahabad Bank (Rs 100 crore each).


Feb 17 – Banks Face Nearly Rs. 20,000 Crore Blow In Nirav Modi Case: Tax Department


Feb 17 – Gokulnath Shetty, the former PNB deputy manager at the centre of the Rs 11,300 crore Nirav Modi scandal, is among the two people arrested as sleuths step up heat on Modi and his associates.


Feb 20 – Nirav Modi denies allegations in PNB scam


Feb 20 – PNB scam: Senior Nirav Modi official Vipul Ambani arrested


Feb 21 – RBI sets up committee to pre-empt and prevent such scam in future


Feb 28 – CBI officials say that they contacted Nirav through his official email address asking him to be a part of the investigation but he replied in the negative.


Mar 11 – Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initiates special audit of state-owned lenders with focus on trade financing activities, especially relating to issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) by banking officials.


Mar 28 – ED arrests the vice president of Firestar group, Shyam Sunder Wadhwa, a close associate of Nirav Modi


Apr 05 -Belgium freezes two Nirav Modi accounts on ED request


Apr 08 – A Mumbai court issues non-bailable warrants against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi who had refused to return to the country to face the probe in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam. The arrest warrants are issued at the request of the CBI.


Apr 22 – Govt intervenes in Nirav Modi firms’ bankruptcy case in US – PTI

Apr 27 – Nirav Modi In New York, Travelling On Cancelled Passport: Sources


May 14 – CBI chargesheets Nirav Modi, 24 others; 2 top PNB officials removed
Along with UshaAnanthasubramaniam, three other top officials, PNB executive directors KV Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan and general manager (international operations) Nehal Ahad, have also been named for lapses in the handling of the SWIFT system


May 15 – Punjab National Bank says that its total liability works out to Rs 14,356.84 crore on account of the fraud allegedly carried out by Nirav Modi and associates.


May 28 – ED seeks immediate confiscation of Nirav Modi’s Rs 70-bn assets


Jun 13 – Nirav Modi fled London a month back on his Indian passport, Interpol tells Indian agencies


Jun 29 – Punjab National Bank sells its entire stake in ratings firm ICRA Ltd for a consideration of Rs 109 crore.


Jul 02 – Interpol issues red corner notice against Nirav Modi, his brother and close aide


Jul 03 – Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking SIT probe against Nirav Modi


Aug 20 – Nirav Modi Is In UK, officials there confirm to India for the first time. CBI Files for Extradition


Aug 27 – Three bankrupt American companies directly involved in Nirav Modi-led PNB fraud: US probe


Sep 10 – Nirav Modi’s siblings face CBI, ED action – PTI

Sep 13 – Before PNB scam broke, Nirav Modi tried for citizenship of Vanuatu — was rejected
For citizenship of Vanuatu, Nirav Modi had, in November 2017, transferred $195,000 from his personal account to one of the 18 authorised agents of the Vanuatu government who facilitate Citizenship by Investment program of the country.