30 July, 2021

Nirav Modi

Be they the cooperative bank scamsters of Maharashtra or the chit fund frauds of West Bengal, the powerless poor get robbed all the time.

Nirav Modi

All that sparkles is often an ugly, behind-the-counter scam.  And this counter is mostly likely an extension of a paan-stained public sector bank employee’s cabin. The latest banking scandal—the beauty of it is its simplicity—is a throwback to the Harshad Mehta fraud involving banks, particularly the State Bank of India. Any audaciously rewarding enterprise ought to be­ ­simple and government-funded. Nirav Modi got a lowly deputy manager, Gokulnath Shetty, at Punjab National Bank’s Fountain Branch in Mumbai to authenticate letters of undertaking or bank guarantees, using which he raised Rs 11,000 crore and took a non-stop flight to the Forbes’ list of billionaires. As simple as that!

What struck me most about Nirav Modi was not his diamonds. I always had a healthy disdain for diamonds because you need to have a minimum bank balance to like diamonds, however tiny. Intellectual contempt for wealth and its manifestations are often a loser’s way of coping with a penurious life. Yet, Nirav Modi’s story triggered a brain...

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