Nearly nine firms which were associated with billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi who is a prime accused in the Rs 11,400 crore scam at Punjab National Bank were shut down in 2012 without carrying out any business, The Indian Express reported. All these firms were reportedly incorporated between March and August of 2010. Neeshal Modi, co-accused in the PNB scam along with Nirav Modi was the director in these firms, the report added. While seven of these companies filed for closure in 2012, the remaining two shut down their shops same year citing ‘no sustainable commercial activity’ as the reason. The firms in question were launched with an authorised and paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh in 2010 and closed in 2012 under the fast-track exit scheme announced by the government in 2017, The Indian Express investigation of 41 companies belonging to Nirav Modi disclosed.
The investigation by The Indian Express also revealed that government agencies are investigating 26 active firms which hold association with Nirav Modi. The four companies which came into being in February 2000 were later converted to limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and dissolved thereafter. LLPs are a popular among small and medium businesses as they are tax-efficient and restrict liabilities of partners in civil cases, The Indian Express report cited industry experts. In addition, LLPs are not required to follow the strict rules of the Companies Act, same experts told The Indian Express. Nearly 25 companies out of 41 under investigation by The Indian Express are registered at the same Opera House address in Mumbai.
The massive Rs 11,400 crore scam at PNB has sent jitters across the banking system of the country that is already stressed under the pressure of huge amount of non performing assets (NPAs). Even though the government last year announced a Rs 2.11 trillion bank recapitalisation program to clean the loan books of the public sector banks, this scam has now raised concerns on the effectiveness of the entire program. In an interview with FE Online, Saurabh Mukherjea, CEO, Ambit Capital said that unless core structural governance issues are resolved at these banks, nothing much will come out effectively.