Breaking his silence over the Rs 11,400-crore fraud at India's second-biggest public-sector bank PNB, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government will take stringent action against financial irregularities and not tolerate loot of public money.
Days after the fraud allegedly masterminded by diamantaire Nirav Modi came to light, the prime minister asked the management of financial institutions as well as the supervisory bodies to do their job diligently to check such frauds.
"I want to make it clear that this government has been taking strict action against financial irregularities and will continue to take strict action," he said at Global Business Summit organised by Economic Times. "System will not tolerate loot of public money," Modi said.
Nirav Modi, whose diamond creations have draped Hollywood stars such as Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson, and firms linked to him are alleged to have acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from one PNB branch in Mumbai between 2011 and 2017 to obtain loans from Indian banks overseas. Investigative agencies have raided Modi's properties and arrested bank employees.
Without naming either the alleged kingpin of the fraud, billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, or Punjab National Bank, the prime minister said the management of financial institutions, auditors and regulators should perform their duty with full dedication.
"I want to make an appeal to those who have been entrusted with the job of framing rules and policies and maintaining ethics to do their job diligently and with dedication," he said, adding this should specially be followed by those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of supervision and monitoring.