Four years of Modi government: Nearly after three months, the massive Rs 13,000 crore Nirav Modi fraud seems to have become a black spot on the image of the Narendra Modi government. A whopping 61% or three in five voters feel that the NDA government is a corrupt government, Lokniti-CSDS-ABP News Mood of the Nation Survey said. The image of the government has taken a huge beating after the fraud at the Punjab National Bank and over subsequent actions taken by the government against the diamond czar and other accused.
“Half the respondents had heard about the scam and among them, two-thirds (66.6%) were dissatisfied with the action taken by the government in the case so far,” the survey of 15,859 voters in 19 states showed. Of the 67% voters who felt that the Modi government was corrupt, 26% saw it as being “very corrupt” and 35% said that it was “somewhat corrupt”.
On Thursday, a criminal complaint was filed against Nirav Modi and other accused in a 12,000-page charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate. A multi-agency probe was launched into the fraud which came to light on February 14 this year. However, even before the fraud was uncovered by the second largest public sector bank, Nirav Modi was reported to have fled the country. While the investigation into the matter is on, the fraud was a massive blow to PNB, which reported the highest ever loss in banking history.
The Nirav Modi fraud has also spoiled the big bang bank recapitalisation plan announced by the government in October last year. A massive Rs 2.11 lakh crore package was announced to clean the books of PSU banks suffering the twin-balance sheet problem. However, after the Nirav Modi scam, experts said that the government would need to shell out more from its coffers to fix the banking crisis. The initial fraud amount of Rs 11,500 was more than double of Rs 5,473 crore given to PNB under bank recap package.
It is interesting to note that the Nirav Modi fraud went unnoticed for good ten years. During the investigation, bank officials told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that the practice of illegally issuing Letters of Understanding (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credits (FLCs) and then rolling them over to favour Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi groups started in 2008 and continued till these were discovered in January this year. The case sparked a lot of controversy over the role of bankers, the government, auditors, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in failing to detect and stop the fraud that spanned for about 10 years.