Amid the nationwide uproar regarding the $1.8 billion banking fraud, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused banks of not providing credit to farmers and self-help groups, who repay loans, while defaulters are always obliged by the lenders.

“Banks are not providing loans to farmers who used to repay their debt. But lenders are providing advances to those who defaulted to repay. Self-help groups, poor people are deprived of availing credit from banks. We must pursue this in bankers’ (state level banking committee meeting) meeting to know what bankers want,” Banerjee said in an administrative meeting in Jhargram district.

“And yet special people are being given thousands of crores of rupees. Why this fraud?”

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), which had unveiled “State Focus Paper for 2018-19” and “Area Development Scheme for West Bengal 2018-2023”, showed ground level credit flow to the agriculture sector in West Bengal had not achieved the targets during 2011-12 to 2016-17.

State Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, H.K Dwivedi had recently said commercial banks’ credit advance to agriculture and allied sector has been “dismally low” leading to a low credit-deposit ratio in the eastern state.

According to Nabard, state credit potential of Rs 1,10,137.19 crore has been estimated for 2018-19 as against a potential of Rs 95,288 crore for 2017-18, which is an increase of 15.58 per cent.

Of the total credit projections for 2018-19, around Rs 63,196 crore was estimated for agriculture.

Accusations against Nirav Modi

Diamond merchant Nirav Modi has been accused of a Rs 11,500 crore fraud by the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

On 14 February, PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, detected a $1.8 billion fraud in its Brady House Branch, in south Mumbai.

The fraud, which includes money-laundering, concerns the Firestone Diamonds group in which the CBI last week booked billionaire diamond trader and designer Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and maternal uncle Mehul Choksi.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday sealed billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi’s house, while Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at multiple locations, in connection with a Rs 280 crore money laundering case against him and others, following a complaint by Punjab National Bank (PNB).

Earlier this year, the CBI had registered an offence against PNB officials, Nirav Modi and his family, while the ED had filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The CBI has booked Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017.

ED has also carried out multiple raids on showrooms, workshops, offices and residences of Nirav Modi, Choksi. They have also seized diamonds, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore.