NEW DELHI: With the CBI quizzing some senior RBI officials and a former deputy governor in connection with the Nirav Modi fraud, the bank sources said on Friday they were being called by the probe agency for “clarity” on policy matters.
The RBI sources said its officials are routinely “consulted” by other probe agencies and regulators to provide “clarity” on banking and other related policy matters under the central bank’s domain and the same has been the case in the present matter.
The CBI on Thursday questioned four senior RBI officials with regard to relaxing of gold import rules in 2014 when Congress leader P Chidambaram was the finance minister in the erstwhile UPA government allegedly to the benefit of private traders.
They were questioned about the UPA government’s 20:80 gold import scheme, which was cleared by then finance minister Chidambaram on May 13, 2014, barely three days before the counting of votes of the general election.
Besides, the CBI on Friday called RBI’s former Deputy Governor H R Khan, who served at the bank at that time.
Seeking to clear the air about the purpose for questioning of RBI officials by the CBI, the bank sources said the probe agency had called them for “clarity” on the policy matters, including about the prevailing gold import schemes, of that time, and other issues relating to the banking sector.
The investigation agency, which is probing the alleged Rs 13,000-crore PNB fraud involving billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, had questioned three chief general managers and one general manager of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.
The four officials were asked questions related to the UPA government’s ’20:80′ gold import scheme, they said.
The NDA government has alleged that the relaxation in the so-called ’20:80 gold import scheme’ resulted in a windfall of Rs 4,500 crore to 13 trading houses in six months.
The BJP has also accused Chidambaram of aiding jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the main accused in the fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB), through the 20:80 gold import scheme.
Chidambaram had in last few days of the UPA government modified the gold import scheme to allow private trading houses to import gold on condition that they would export 20 per cent of it.
Previously only GoI-owned companies MMTC and STC were allowed to import gold.