The Indian citizens are losing faith in their trusted financial institutions. After the scandal suffered by Punjab National Bank (PNB), which lost millions of dollars to a scam pulled by diamond merchant Nirav Modi who is now on the run, the State Bank of India (SBI) has come under fire for deducting money from its middle-class account holders who have failed to maintain the required minimum monthly balance.

The tweets started pouring in when news broke out that Chennai-based Nathella Sampath Jewelry Pvt Ltd and Kanishk Gold Pvt Ltd were listed out by the bank as fraudulent accounts.

The bank had sanctioned Kanishk Gold Pvt Ltd a loan of Rs 215 crore in 2009 and, last November, SBI classified the account as fraudulent when it found out that the jewelry company had misrepresented financial data. According to the officials of the State Bank of India, the matter was reported to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year. A similar malpractice by Nathella Sampath Jewelry Pvt Ltd was discovered last year. The bank in 2010 had sanctioned loans worth Rs250 crore. The officials said that the case has been referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the matter will be investigated.

Nirav Modi’s assets seized

Meanwhile, the assets of Nirav Modi, who is now taking refuge in the United States, has been seized.

Reports claim that these assets, which include expensive paintings, a watch, and some antique jewelry, are worth more than Rs 26 crore. The authorities from Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, conducted a three-day search at his posh Samudra Mahal residence in Worli. The total seizure including Nirav Modi’s immovable assets like his penthouse includes approximately Rs 7,664 crore.

Both Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choski have fled the country, reports claim. The total amount allegedly looted by the duo is Rs 13,578 crore.

The authorities are also examining 120 shell companies, which allegedly belongs to the runaway diamond merchant.

Middle-class bank account holders took to Twitter, tweeting sarcastic remarks to the banks who fell for these scams.

“You can recover this money through the fine you collect from poor people's account for not maintaining a minimum balance,” posted one user who holds an account with the SBI.

Modi supports Modi?

The Narendra Modi-led central government has come under fire for a slew of bank frauds and its stance on Aadhaar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew flak in the PNB scam case when a photograph of him along with Nirav Modi went viral on social media. Many claimed that the Prime Minister is deliberately going soft on the diamond merchant.

Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress party, during his recent trip to Mysore, Karnataka, criticized the banking fraud in his speech to the students of Maharani's Arts College for Women.“People like Nirav Modi fled with nearly Rs 22,000 crore of our hard earned money.

Can you imagine the number of businesses youngsters like you could have built had that amount been given to you?” he asked.

At the Congress Plenary held a week ago, MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is in charge of party communications, posed a question to Prime Minister Modi. “Doesn’t the Indian market distort when looters like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Chokski, and Jatin Mehta flee the country?” he asked.

One user on Twitter posted a sarcastic tweet. “So just a thought, did Nirav Modi link his Aadhaar to his bank account?” he asked.

The Central government has also suffered criticism for its stance on Aadhar, which forced Indian citizens to link the UID to services like telephone, bank accounts and even private apps like PAYTM.

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