Indian police arrest three people in $1.8bn PNB fraud case

Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials escort Gokulnath Shetty, center, the former deputy manager of Punjab National Bank (PNB) into a special CBI court in Mumbai. Investigators are looking into allegations that Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi in collusion with Shetty and two others defrauded India’s second-largest state-run lender the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of 2.8 billion rupees ($43.8 million). (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2018

Indian police arrest three people in $1.8bn PNB fraud case

NEW DELHI: India’s federal police arrested two employees at Punjab National Bank believed to be at the center of a staggering $1.77 billion fraud, the first arrests so far in the country’s biggest-ever bank scam, a police source said on Saturday.
The pair, Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat, are suspected of steering fraudulent loans to companies linked to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and to entities tied to jewellry retailer Gitanjali, which is led by Modi’s uncle, Mehul Choksi.
PNB is the country’s second-largest state-run lender.
The police also arrested a third person, Hemant Bhat, whom the source described as the “authorized signatory” of the companies tied to Nirav Modi.
All three will appear in a Mumbai court later on Saturday, the source said.
The investigation and “examination of others is continuing,” the source said.
PNB’s disclosure on Wednesday that it had suffered massive fraud has sparked a widening probe involving various Indian authorities.
India’s Income Tax Department has also extended a probe into Modi and his group companies, looking into possible tax evasion and suspected investment of illegal funds, a spokeswoman told Reuters.
“We have provisionally attached 29 properties and 105 bank accounts of Nirav Modi and his group companies in the PNB bank fraud case,” she said.


World should back Vision 2030 strategy says global risk guru

Updated 22 November 2019

World should back Vision 2030 strategy says global risk guru

  • Ian Bremmer: When I see how much more dynamic Riyadh is compared to two years ago, it’s really undeniable that they are actually trying to modernize society
  • Bremmer: They are hosting the G20, and that could help to make them confident enough to push forward on a resolution to the Qatar issue

BEIJING: The world should back Saudi Arabia’s transformation strategy under Vision 2030 despite the challenges the Kingdom has faced, according to Ian Bremmer, one of the leading political risk advisers in the world.

“When I see them moving toward Saudization, when I see how much more dynamic Riyadh is compared to two years ago, it’s really undeniable that they are actually trying to modernize society. I think that’s really important and we should all be rooting for that process to continue,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing.

He said that the ongoing reforms in the Kingdom were helping it rebuild its international reputation following criticism over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. “They are hosting the G20, and that could help to make them confident enough to push forward on a resolution to the Qatar issue.”

“It would be nice if there could be some reduction in the problem with Qatar, and some reintegration of the GCC, and there has been some progress toward that. The fact that we have a peace deal in south Yemen, that will make a difference too, and hopefully it will reduce some of the tension with Iran as a consequence,” he added.

Bremmer was speaking about climate change and other issues at the forum, at a session that acknowledged the difficulty of meeting targets to get rid of fossil fuels by the year 2050. He also talked about the looming “technology wars” between China and the US.