Jeweller Nirav Modi, who has been accused of orchestrating a scam that left the Punjab National Bank poorer by Rs 11,400 crore, reportedly wrote to the bank on 15 February stating that the bank has thwarted possibilities of the loan getting repaid by going public with the case. Press Trust of India, which claims to have a copy of the letter, reported that Modi accused the bank of destroying his businesses by revealing the details of the case to the public. He added that as a result, they have shut avenues through which Modi was attempting to repay his debts.
He also stated that he owed roughly Rs 5,000 crore to the bank, contrary to the figure claimed by the bank.
"The erroneously cited liability resulted in a media frenzy which led to immediate search and seizure of operations, and which in turn resulted in Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International effectively ceasing to be going-concerns," he wrote in the letter.
He added: "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."
The letter also referred to detailed discussions with various bank officials between 13 February to 15 February.
He said that he was attempting to pay back the loan even after the bank had lodged a complaint and had asked them to allow him to sell his companies in order to pay back the dues. However, since the CBI and ED has frozen all their assets and bank accounts, Modi alleged that he was unable to pay back the dues.
"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," he wrote.
He pegged his company's worth at Rs 6,500 and added that it was enough to pay back what he owed to the bank.
On February 14, Punjab National Bank informed the exchanges that they had detected fraud worth Rs 1.77 billion at their Brady House branch in Mumbai. Companies owned by Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali group and a couple other diamond traders were named as the perpetrators of the scam. A FIR was lodged against Modi and Choksi, and Modi's wife Ami and his brother were also named in it. It was reported that Modi and his family had fled the country in January. It has been now confirmed that Modi is in New York and it has been reported that the government has moved to freeze his funds in order to compel him to return to India.
He also appealed to the bank that his wife and uncle have nothing to do with his dealings and their names be taken off the complaint. He also requested the bank to let him pay salaries of 2200 employees his companies have.