Billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi, who is an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB), has hit back the bank in a letter to its management.
In the letter written on February 15, Nirav Modi said the liabilities he had were much less than what PNB had claimed, and that this "misleading" liability claims caused a "media frenzy" that led to immediate search and seizure operations and thereby curbed his ability to clear his dues to banks.
Check out the full text of Nirav Modi's letter to Punjab National Bank, published by Economic Times:
1. I refer to the extended discussions between us, and between my representatives and your officers. I also refer to my emails dated 13th and 15th February 2018.
2. In view of the recent actions by you, the authorities, and the extensive press coverage in the last couple of days, I must state my position to the extent it is relevant at this stage. The media suggests that the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is over Rs 11,000 crores. As you are aware, this is entirely incorrect and the liability of the Nirav Modi Group is substantially less. Even after your complaint was filed, in good faith I wrote to you saying please sell/ allow me to sell Firestar Group or their valuable assets, and recover the money that may be found due not just from Firestar Group, but also from the three firms. The valuation of the business was approximately Rs. 6,500 crores which could have helped reduce/discharge the debt to the banking system.
3. However, the erroneous liability resulted in a media frenzy led to immediate search and seizure of operations, which has, in turn, resulted in Firestar International Private Limited and Firestar Diamond International Private Limited effectively ceasing to be going concerns. This has thereby jeopardized our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks.
4. In light of this, it is necessary to reinstate some facts:
I. You have acknowledged that:
(a) The Buyers Credit Facility has been extended by PNB to the three partnership firms since several years.
(b) There has been no default on the part of any of these firms over all these years.
(c) Moneys have gone through PNB over all these years for the repayments of the advances given by the overseas branches of banks under the Buyers Credit.
(d) FIPL and FDIPL have been profitable, enjoyed a high (A-) credit rating, and have never been in default to any bank, and its bankers are fully secured.
II. You are aware that:
(a) PNB has over the years been earning bank charges to the tune of crores of rupees on the Buyers Credit Facility extended by PNB to the three partnership firms.
(b) The banks that have extended the money to the firm's buyers have been receiving payment in full, with interest, in time all these year.
5. Yesterday, FIPL and FDIPL's inventory has been seized by the authorities. As per press reports, the valuation of the is Rs. 5,649 crores. These, and other assets of FIPL/FDIPL and the three firms (including receivables and assets seized) could have settled all the amounts due to banks. However, now that stage appears to have passed, and there is generally panic.
7. In your complaint you have wrongly named my brother, who was not at all concerned with the operations of the three firms or FIPL (India) and FDIPL (India). My wife was not connected with any business operations at all and she has been wrongly named. My uncle is also wrongly named in this complaint since he has an independent and unconnected business from mine and none of us are aware or concerned with his dealings with your bank.
8. The matter is being described as India's largest banking fraud. This is far from the truth. Nirav Modi Group ran a legitimate luxury brand business and the brand had become India's foremost global luxury brand, standing side by side with some of the biggest jewellery brands in the world. In the anxiety to recover your dues immediately, despite my offer, your actions have destroyed my brand and the business and have now restricted your ability to recover all the dues leaving a trail of unpaid debts. Whatever may be the consequences I may face for my actions, the haste was, in my humble submission, unwarranted.
9. I would request you to permit salaries for FIPL and FDIPL to be paid for the 2200 employees from the balance lying in the current accounts. Our HR head will send you a breakup of the monthly salary.