PNB fraud: Parliamentary panel PAC calls ED, Customs for a briefing
The parliament’s public accounts committee (PAC) wants to know whether the 80:20 gold import scheme helped Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi perpetrate the PNB fraud
New Delhi: Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has called the revenue secretary and top officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax (I-T) department and Customs to brief the panel on the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a PAC member has said.
A sub-committee of the PAC wants to question the top officials over the PNB fraud and the 80:20 gold import scheme that was announced in 2013 to restrict the imports of the precious yellow metal, which may have helped diamantaire Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi, the member of the panel said, on condition of anonymity.
Another member of the panel said that the committee wants to question the officials about the ongoing investigation into the fraud and whether both Modi and Choksi and various other jewellers misused the 80:20 scheme for their benefit.
All officials are scheduled to appear before the panel on 1 March, the member said. In August 2013, the government had placed import restrictions on gold by introducing the 80:20 scheme. The scheme, which essentially mandated traders to export 20% of their gold imports, was later scrapped in 2014.
Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by the ED and other probe agencies after the fraud recently came to light, following a complaint by the PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them. The ED, a central probe agency under the Union finance ministry, is investigating if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
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