PNB scam: Govt opposes plea for probe, CBI makes more arrests

Nirav Modi

PNB scam: Supreme Court to hear plea of independent inquiry

The AG pointed out that a case had been registered and investigation had started and at this stage there was no need for court intervention.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it would not pre-empt any government probe into the Rs 11,400-crore Punjab National Bank scam and would hear out the government's opposition before entertaining any petition on the matter. Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench that a First Information Report has been registered and an investigation was under way in the case.

Following heated exchanges between the judges and Dhanda, during which Justice Chandrachud dubbed the petition as a "publicity interest litigation", the top court chose to defer the hearing till March 15 when it will hear submissions by Attorney General KK Venugopal who has objected to the SIT probe and the petitioner's other demand - the deportation of Nirav Modi. "The goal is to gain publicity by filing these publicity-oriented litigations", the bench said and fixed the PIL for hearing on March 16.

"The government is answerable to millions of customers and citizens", he argued and alleged that a small man who takes a tiny loan is harassed, but influential people walk away with loans of thousands of crores without any collateral or security.

Justice Chandrachud reiterated that Dhanda's plea was "a publicity interest litigation" and said: "we must allow the government to investigate... if the government does not do, we can intervene". That's a demand that the central government has resisted earlier in court on the ground that it would erode public confidence in the bankingsystem. The FIRs have been filed and the process is still on, he also said. We are concerned with legal arguments and not emotional appeals.

The plea has sought a direction to the finance ministry to frame guidelines on the grant and disbursal of loans involving big amounts.

It has also asked for a probe into the role of the top management of the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

It has also sought the setting up of an experts' body to deal with cases of bad banking debts in the country.

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