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Nirav firms availed loans from PNB’s Hong Kong, Dubai branches too

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi:Nirav Modi group’s exposure was not limited to only PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai, as the firms had availed loan facility from its Hong Kong and Dubai branches too, according to an internal report of the bank submitted to investigative agencies.
As per the report, Nirav Modi group companies Firestar Diamond Ltd Hong Kong and Firestar Diamond FZE Dubai availed some credit facilities from the Hong Kong and Dubai branches of Punjab National Bank (PNB) as well.
The sanctioned credit facilities to both the companies were recalled soon after investigation and linkage with the group which defrauded the bank of about Rs 14,000 crore was discovered.
“As per the investigation finding there is no reporting of any trail of fraudulent transaction of other Nirav Modi Group accounts where fraud has been detected or reported with these two accounts. As such, these two accounts are not treated as fraud,” the report said.
Another group firm, the US-based Firestar Diamond Inc filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in the New York Southern Bankruptcy Court in last week of February soon after the multi-crore fraud was unearthed by the bank.
PNB also joined the bankruptcy proceedings as it apprehended that a major part of the fraud money was routed to the US-based firm.
The 162-page report alleged that a group of employees at the Brady House branch issued fake letters of undertaking over several years to help diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi raise billions of dollars in foreign credit, leading to the country’s biggest-ever bank fraud.
The report was presented along with internal e-mails as part of the evidence to investigative agencies.
The bank reported a loss of Rs 13,416.91 crore for the January-March period as against standalone profit of Rs 261.90 crore in the fourth quarter of the preceding fiscal, 2016-17.
With regard to provisions made for the loss incurred on account of Nirav Modi fraud, the bank provided Rs 7,178 crore, 50% of the total amount of Rs 14,356 crore in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. The remaining amount will be covered in the three quarters of the current fiscal year.
PNB paid Rs 6,586.11 crore to other banks to discharge its liabilities towards Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) issued fraudulently and in unauthorised manner to certain overseas branches of Indian banks through the misuse of SWIFT system of the bank, which was then not integrated with CBS (Core Banking Solution).


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Business

ADB cuts India’s FY20 GDP growth forecast to 7% on fiscal shortfall worries

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Asian Development Bank on Thursday lowered India’s GDP growth forecast to 7 per cent for the current year on the back of fiscal shortfall concerns.

“India is expected to grow by 7 per cent in 2019 (FY20) and 7.2 per cent in 2020 (FY21), slightly slower than projected in April because the fiscal 2018 outturn fell short,” ADB said in its supplement to the Asian Development Outlook 2019.

For the south Asian region, ADB said the outlook remains robust, with growth projected at 6.6 per cent in 2019 and 6.7 per cent in 2020.

 

Earlier in April this year too, the Manila-based multi-lateral funding agency had lowered India’s growth forecast for FY20 to 7.2 per cent from 7.6 per cent estimated previously due to moderation in global demand and likely shortfall in revenue on the domestic front.

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Jalan panel proposes ‘nominal’ transfer of RBI funds to govt over 3-5 years

Agencies

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New Delhi: The Union government may not get the windfall gain it was expecting from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reserves as the Bimal Jalan committee, tasked with reviewing the central bank’s economic capital framework, has proposed a “nominal” transfer of surplus to the central government in a phased manner, according to a source in the know.

“The report has proposed a formula for a nominal transfer of a portion of the RBI’s reserves to the central government in a period of three-five years. This is in line with the current practice being followed by the RBI for transferring dividend annually,” a person close to the development said.

The person said the panel members might “not be unanimous” on the suggestions the committee made. These will be submitted to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das “in a few days”. The RBI’s central board, headed by Das, will take up the matter.

 

The report would likely include a dissent note by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who is the government’s representative on the panel.

The committee has recommended a periodic review of the RBI’s economic capital framework, according to the source.

Initially, the finance ministry had expected around Rs 3 trillion from the RBI’s reserve funds, which were at the heart of a conflict between the regulator and the government last year.

On the insistence of the finance ministry, the central board of the RBI formed a six-member committee — headed by Jalan and co-chaired by former RBI deputy governor Rakesh Mohan — in December to review the central bank’s economic capital framework.

The main difference of opinion within the panel was over transferring the RBI’s “excess” capital reserves. While most panel members are in favour of a phased transfer of the RBI’s capital reserves to the government over the years, the government’s view, voiced by Garg, was for a one-time transfer.

For this financial year, the government had accounted for around Rs 20,000 crore as “additional dividend” from the RBI, a finance ministry official said. This, the official said, is unlikely to happen.

In the Receipts Budget, allocation towards the “dividend or surplus of RBI, nationalised banks and financial institutions” was increased by Rs 23,130 crore to Rs 1.06 trillion in 2019-20, compared to the Interim Budget.

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Nod to bankruptcy code changes, will help home buyers

Agencies

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New Delhi: The government today gave its approval to seven amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), a move that will benefit unsecured creditors like home buyers in a big way.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said, the IBC (Amendment) Bill, 2019, would be introduced in Parliament during this session and will have retrospective effect. An official statement read: “The amendments aim to fill critical gaps in the corporate insolvency resolution framework as enshrined in the Code.”

of all financial creditors, including unsecured ones (home buyers) covered under Section 21 (6A) “shall be cast in accordance with the decision approved by the highest voting share (more than 50 per cent) of financial creditors on present and voting basis”, it said. It also said greater emphasis had been given “on the need for time-bound disposal at application stage and a deadline for completion of CSRP within an overall limit of 330 days, including litigation and other judicial processes”. Experts say this provision will help unsecured creditors (mostly home buyers) in a big way.

 
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