Centre opposes demand for SC monitored SIT probe into the alleged Rs11,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) banking fraud

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Feb 2018 11:47am

Centre opposes demand for SC monitored SIT probe into the alleged Rs11,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) banking fraud

New Delhi :Given the size of PNB fraud orchestrated by diamond merchant Nirav Modi it was a matter of time before the matter reached SC. Two separate PIL were filed by lawyers Vineet Dhanda and Manohar Lal Sharma seeking time bound court monitored probe into alleged swindling of bank money.Petition wanted Supreme Court to initiate investigation and direct the government to bring back diamond merchant Nirav Modi in two months.

However the Centre represented by  Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal,  opposed it, on the ground that cases had already been registered and the probe has begun.But petitioner and advocate,Vineet Dhanda, ,argued saying the issue was of utmost urgency as a “few influential and connected businessmen have decamped with thousands of crores of public money from right under the nose of the government”.

In his petition, Mr. Dhanda argued that the “common factor” found among those like Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi was that they all had seemed “very close to the corridors of power”.

The petitioner said letters of undertaking (LoUs) were “magnanimously issued” by the PNB. The petitioner called for guidelines to be framed by the Finance Ministry for loans of over Rs10 crore. In case of default, their passports should be immediately impounded and recovery made from the assets of a “high-loan” borrower. His attached properties should be publicly auctioned. The “rogue” bank officials concerned, whether serving or retired, should also be made liable. Their properties should be attached and criminal cases lodged against them.

Mr. Dhanda also asked for a list of borrowers whose bank loans are worth over Rs 500 crore.

The matter was heard by Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.The honourable Chief Justice observed that government is taking action and at the moment no purpose will be served by issuing notice.

“He [Mr. Venugopal] is here and he has said that he is opposing. What is the need for issuing notice now? All this big speech will make no impact on us. We are here to hear issues on law alone ... It has become a fashion to see something in the newspapers and come to the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Misra told Mr. Dhanda.

We cannot preempt the government in the matter. Let Centre give it arguments. The court fixed March 16 as next date of hearing .

Tagged: SC   PIL   PNB Fraud   Nirav Modi  
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