Nirav Modi's Team Given 'Unauthorised Access' to PNB Systems: CBI Sources

Arrested bank officials revealed that Modi's staff were logging into the SWIFT system using passwords of PNB officials.

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi. Credit: Nirav Modi Jewels/Facebook

Mumbai: The two detained Punjab National Bank (PNB) officials who are under the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) custody have revealed that Nirav Modi’s team was given “unauthorised access” to PNB’s computer systems for a “commission” on every letter of understanding ( LoU) issued, said a probe agency source.

On Saturday, the CBI had arrested three people, including PNB’s former deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty, the bank’s single window operator Manoj Kharat and Nirav Modi’s accountant Hemant Bhat.

A special court remanded all the three accused to 14 days of CBI custody.

During interrogation, the arrested bank officials revealed that Modi’s staff were logging into the SWIFT system using passwords of PNB officials, including Shetty, in the capacity of verifier/authoriser and enabling the fraudulent SWIFT messages, said a CBI source.

According to the source, the accused were taking certain commission, which was a fixed percentage on every LoU, for unauthorised access and SWIFT password to the Modi firms. The amount was divided among the PNB employees involved in the fraud. “Involvement and connivance of more staff members and outsiders was revealed during the questioning,” said the source cited above.

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The accused have revealed names of at least half a dozen more PNB employees who were involved in the scam.

The funds raised through the LoUs were meant to be issued for payment of import bills of the accused companies, whereas they were dishonestly and fraudulently utilised for discharging the earlier liabilities on account of the buyer’s credit facilities allowed by the overseas branches of an Indian bank.

In the case of foreign letters of credit (FLC), they were opened initially for smaller amounts by creating purported entries in core banking solution system and sending the relevant FLC through SWIFT messages.

Meanwhile, the CBI has sought help from authorities all over the world through Interpol to locate Nirav Modi and airports have been informed through diffusion notice. If Modi flies from one country to another, the CBI will be informed.

At present, there is no concrete information on Modi’s whereabouts, CBI sources said.

By arrangement with Business Standard.

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