PNB fraud: Nirav Modi appeals to banks for cooperation, says liability less than Rs11,000 crore

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Mumbai: Jeweller Nirav Modi has asked banks to support his efforts to repay debt and claimed his liabilities are much less than the reported Rs11,400 crore, according to a letter purportedly written by the diamond billionaire.

Mint could not verify the authenticity of the letter circulated on instant messenger networks, but a person familiar with Modi’s legal strategy said it could be genuine.

Modi also said PNB’s “overzealousness” shut the doors on his ability to clear the dues, reported PTI. In the letter, a copy of which PTI said it has seen, Modi pegged the money his companies owe to the bank under Rs5,000 crore. He also said his relatives booked in the cases filed by the central agencies had nothing to do with the operations of the firms under the scanner.

“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 the extended discussions between him, and between his representatives and the bank officers, besides his emails of 13 and 15 February, according to the PTI report.

“The media suggests that the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is over Rs11,000 crore. 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 moneys that may be found due not just from Firestar Group, but also from the three firms. The valuation of the business was approximately Rs6,500 crore which could have helped reduce/discharge the debt to the banking system,” the letter said.

It added that erroneous rep­orting led to seizure of operations, resulting in Firestar Int­ernational Pvt. Ltd (FIPL) and Firestar Diamond International Pvt. Ltd (FDIPL) effectively ceasing to be going concerns, jeopardizing the firm’s ability to discharge dues.

Modi also said buyers’ credit facility has been extended by Punjab National Bank to three partnership firms over the years and there has been no default. Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds are the three firms named in the CBI complaint.

Agencies have seized gold, diamonds and precious stones, valued over Rs5,700 crore in nationwide raids. “These, and other assets of FIPL/FDIPL and the three firms (including receivables and assets seized) could have settled all the amounts due to banks. However, now that stage appears to have passed, and there is generally panic,” the letter said.livemint