PNB zeal did me in: Nirav

...HAS BOLTED: The entrance to Punjab National Bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai, from where the fraudulent letters of understanding were issued, after it was locked by the CBI on Monday. (AFP picture)

Mumbai: Diamantaire Nirav Modi has said the overzealousness of Punjab National Bank (PNB) has shut the doors on his ability to clear the dues.

In a letter sent on February 15/16 to the PNB management, Nirav had pegged the amount his companies owed the bank under Rs 5,000 crore. (However, when the Rs 4,887 crore attributed to companies linked to Nirav's uncle Mehul Choksi is included, the alleged defrauded amount balloons to nearly Rs 10,000 crore, not much lower than the PNB-quoted figure of Rs 11,400 crore).

"The erroneously cited liability resulted in a media frenzy which led to immediate search and seizure operations, and which in turn resulted in Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International effectively ceasing to be going-concerns. This thereby jeopardised our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks," Modi wrote in the letter.

"In the anxiety to recover your dues immediately, despite my offer (on February 13, a day before the public announcement, and on 15,) your actions have destroyed my brand and the business and have now restricted your ability to recover all the dues leaving a trail of unpaid debts," he said.

The letter also refers to extended discussions between him and between his representatives and the bank's officers.

On the over Rs 11,000-crore loss claimed by PNB in the FIR, Nirav said: "As you are aware, this is entirely incorrect and the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is substantially less. Even after your complaint was filed, in good faith I wrote to you saying please sell/allow me to sell Firestar Group, or their valuable assets, and recover the dues not just from Firestar Group, but also from the three firms."

Valuing his domestic business at Rs 6,500 crore, he said: "This could have helped reduce/discharge the debt to the banking system" but added that this is not possible as all his bank accounts have been frozen and assets have been sealed or seized.

Owning up everything, he said his brother, wife and uncle have been wrongly named as they had nothing to do with his business.

Nirav requested the bank to permit payment of salaries to 2,200 employees from the balance lying in the current accounts.


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