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Year of reckoning for India Inc: How PNB scam unsettled consumer confidence

Weeks ago, Nirav Modi was spotted having dinner at a London restaurant

Pavan Lall 

Nirav Modi
File photo of Nirav Modi

He came, he saw, he ran away. In other words, that’s how jeweller Nirav Modi ended up after years of positioning himself as a purveyor of progressive, international quality jewellery good enough to sell to the Western world. It was a vision that he almost fulfilled with stores that were launched across London, New York, Hong Kong and Macau as well as Mumbai and New Delhi. If former liquor baron and his larger-than-life image was a side-show, then for Modi, it was the smoke and mirrors that distracted everyone from the crux of the issue.

Beyond the pretty faces, big art, fancy cars, and fancy diamond sets designed for auction houses like Christie’s, the mystery around where his seemingly unending credit limits were coming from started to raise eyebrows in the last couple of years. Until, finally, the house of cards came crashing down. It turned out that the money was being raised from — for over a decade — through letters of undertaking for credit that were being issued in collusion with its officials and resulted in an Rs 130 billion scam that rattled and unsettled consumer confidence. While international authorities are on the lookout for Modi, the buzz in the jewellery business amongst those who know him is that just weeks ago he was spotted having dinner at a London restaurant.

First Published: Wed, December 26 2018. 21:46 IST