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Mother Teresa’s successor Sister Nirmala dead, tributes pour in

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Image courtesy Indian Express
Image courtesy Indian Express

Kolkata: Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa’s successor as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, died here on Tuesday following renal failure and heart complications, church and order officials said. She was 81.

“She was sick for quite some time. She passed away at 12.05 a.m. today (Tuesday) at the convent where she used to stay in Sealdah,” said a source at the Catholic religious order’s global headquarters Mother House.

“Sister Nirmala had cardiac complications for long. Lately, she developed an acute kidney problem. She was taken to hospital but brought back to the MoC home two days back,” said Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the nation in paying tributes, recalled her lifelong service to the cause of the poor. Modi’s Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala also condoled the death of Nirmala, whose parents hailed from the mountainous nation.

Sister Nirmala became the second head of the order after its founder Mother Teresa stepped down from the post in March 1997. The Nobel laureate, who died on September 5 the same year, was in 2003 beatified as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

During her 12-year stewardship of the Kolkata-headquartered order founded in 1950, Sister Nirmala visited a large number of countries, opening new houses and drawing more people to the Missionaries of Charity, which now has under its fold over 4,500 religious sisters and activities spread across 133 countries.

She held the post till March 24, 2009, when she was succeeded by Sister Mary Prema.

Sister Nirmala’s body was kept on a pedestal at the St. John’s Church though the day where MoC nuns sang and prayed to celebrate her life, as a large number of tearful people gathered for the last glimpse of the simple but inwardly strong nun. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among those who paid her last respects.

An order spokesperson said the body would be kept overnight at a morgue in Tangra area. “On Wednesday morning, it will be taken to Mother House for public viewing. After the funeral mass at 4 pm, the body would be carried to the St. John’s Church for the final rituals before being laid to rest at the adjoining cemetery.”

The order mourned the death of its former head.

“We are deeply saddened and salute her life of service and dedication,” said Sister Prema.

Sister Prema said after Mother Teresa, her predecessor took the order forward and worked tirelessly serving the poor and the needy.

The president in a tweet expressed his “heartfelt condolences”.

“Hers was an inspiring life dedicated to service of the poor,” he said.

Modi, in a statement, said: “Sister Nirmala’s life was devoted to service, caring for the poor and underprivileged. Saddened by her demise. May her soul rest in peace.” He expressed his “deepest condolences to the Missionaries of Charity family”.

“With the demise of Sister Nirmala, the world has lost a great humanist social worker. I express my heartfelt condolences,” Koirala tweeted.

In a message, Congress president Sonia Gandhi described her as a worthy successor of Mother Teresa and said Sister Nirmala would be deeply missed by the millions whose lives she touched in the service of humanity.

Party vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Extremely saddened at the passing away of Sister Nirmala. She carried forward Mother Teresa’s work with quiet dedication and dignity.”

Banerjee also expressed sadness, saying : “Kolkata and the world will miss her.”

Describing it as a personal loss, she said the state government will extend all help and cooperation for the last rites.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) also extended its condolences.

“Her life of dedication and service especially to the poor is a great inspiration and it is to be pondered upon and to be followed,” said ISKCON spokesperson Radharaman Das.

Born Nirmala Joshi in Ranchi to a Brahmin family from Nepal in 1934, Nirmala joined the order after converting to Christianity in 1958.

An MA in political science and a trained lawyer, Sister Nirmala started the MoC’s contemplative branch in 1976 and headed it till her election as the order’s superior general.

She was elected for a second term in 2003.

Sister Nirmala was re-elected for a third term on March 13, 2009, but the MoC held a second election days later after she wanted to be relieved of the responsibility owing to ill-health and also expressed a desire to return to the contemplative life she led before heading the order.

She was honoured with India’s second highest civilian order Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation.

(IANS)

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PNB Fraud Fully Exposes the Malicious Intent Of Nirav Modi

For the past seven years, Nirav Modi’s three firms-Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds-were in the process of procuring the LoU's from the Punjab National Bank (PNB)

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Nirav Modi's stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence.
Nirav Modi's stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence. Facebook
  • Nirav Modi is India’s one of the better- known diamantaires
  • Since 2013, Nirav Modi has been a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians
  • Nirav Modi and his firms exploited the loopholes in the banking system to the fullest by seeking letters of undertaking

Who Is Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi is India’s one of the better- known diamantaires. Hewas born in a diamond-dealing family and spent his childhood in Antwerp, Belgium. At an early age of 19, he set sail for Mumbai. After spending nine years down the lane, he came up with his own company named Firestar Diamond Ltd. Initially, Nirav Modi started with selling loose stones and employed the only handful of people. But after attaining staggering success in his business till last year, the number of employees was more than two thousand.

As per the Firestar Group figures, the company’s revenue jumped over three years from 103 billion rupees to some 147 billion rupees by the 2016-17 fiscal year. Since 2013, Nirav Modi has been a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians. According to Forbes magazine rankings, Nirav Modi’s net worth ranges to some $1.8 billion which itself explains the lavish lifestyle of the business tycoon.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

Nirav Modi’s stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence. The Bollywood star and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra also adorned with Modi’s jewels. From Hollywood’s red carpets to the Bollywood awards, his diamonds have sparkled on the bodies of actors and models like Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson and Priyanka Chopra.

Last month, Nirav Modi was spotted at the World Economic Forum in Davos. A group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the foreground and Nirav Modi in between rows of Indian business leaders have come under fire from the Congress party and notably carried out by the Indian media. Some political parties have taken a direct shot at Prime Minister for facilitating the run of Nirav Modi. In one of its tweet, Rahul Gandhi blamed Narendra Modi for this blunder.

Nirav Modi and his firms exploited the loopholes in the banking system to the fullest by seeking letters of undertaking (LOU) and thus raised credit from foreign banks to pay to its merchants. In simple words, LOU is a bank guarantee issued for overseas import payments. The scandal is termed as India’s biggest banking scams in ages.

For the past seven years, Nirav Modi’s three firms-Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds-were in the process of procuring the LOU’s from the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Through these bank guarantees, Nirav Modi was able to raise the short-term loans from foreign branches of Indian banks to pay to its suppliers of raw material for his business.

A criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore.
A criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore. Wikimedia Commons

Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day’s closing on BSE.

The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) booked the billionaire jewellery designer on January 31, along with his wife Ami, brother Nishal and business partner Mehul Choksi. The Nirav Modi’s wife is a U.S. citizen and said to be equally involved in the billion dollar fraud. The charges levelled against them were of allegedly cheating state-run Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs. 280 crore. Within a fortnight of the first complaint by the Punjab National Bank, CBI was taken into the loop.

Also Read: 16 Indian origin people indicted for running a scam in the United States

Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal, who is a Belgian citizen, left India on January 1. However, it is still not known if they travelled together or separately. Meanwhile, Nirav Modi’s wife Ami, who is a US citizen, left India on January 6. Following the footsteps of his business associates, Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, left on January 4, the officials said.

After the exposure of the scam, CBI and the Enforcement Directorate moved to the External Affairs Ministry in order to get revoked the passports of Nirav Modi and his associates. Hence, the passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi got suspended for four weeks.

The last nail is struck by CBI as it has asked Interpol for help to arrest celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi, who is being investigated for one of the biggest bank frauds of the country.

Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day's closing on BSE.
Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day’s closing on BSE. Wikimedia Commons

The federal investigative agency and the law enforcement officials raided his jewellery stores and other businesses in Mumbai and New Delhi. However, Nirav Modi’s flagship company, Firestar Diamond, has denied any involvement in the case.

Also Read: 5 scams that rocked India in 2015

After this scam, Nirav Modi’s biggest rivals like Tanishq and Gitanjali Gems must be having a heave of sigh in terms of competition. As per the NDTV’s report, Nirav Modi is holed up at New York’s JW Marriott Essex House at 160 Central Park South, which includes both a hotel and apartments. The place is situated in a premier location overlooking New York’s well known Central Park.

In the following paragraph, thePNB’s swoop of Rs. 11,300 Crore is explained as it is:

  • There is a system of bank guarantee called a letter of undertaking (LOU). Under this a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of a short-term credit. So basically, the LOU serves the purpose of a bank guarantee.
  • In order to avail LOU, the customer or organization is expected to pay margin money to the LOU issuing bank and hence the credit limit is granted. But in the Nirav Modi’s fraud case, he didn’t pay up any margin money and on the top of that, no credit limit was set up for him.
  • On a regular basis, Nirav Modi managed to pay to its suppliers of rough stones for his three firms. The money was paid through the loans by banks including Axis Bank, and Allahabad Bank. It was done by Nirav Modi’s firms on showing the letters of undertakings issued by the Punjab National Bank.
  • Early this year, Punjab National Bank discovered that there was no official record of such letters of the undertaking before reporting the matter to the CBI.
  • In this case, Nirav Modi and his firms were supposed to repay the loans but till now, all these loans have allegedly been rolled over for want of funds. Incidentally, when the borrower fails to make the repayment, the bank which has issued the LOU is constrained to honour the commitments on the behalf of its customers.
  • On February 15, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), the central finance body of India reportedly directed the Punjab National Bank to pay all these banks that gave loans to Modi’s firm on the basis of guarantees issued by the state lender.
  • So virtually, Indian bank’s foreign branches were making payments on behalf of Nirav Modi’s to its suppliers in the form of loans.
  • The hell broke out in January when Modi’s firm requested further LOUs for paying the overseas suppliers. The bank officials straightforwardly refused to entertain the request on the ground that Modi’s firm needs to keep 100% collateral for the same. On this, Modi’s firm argued that no such money was kept ‘on margin’ in the past either and this led to an investigation by the bank officials who scanned the records only to discover that there was no trace of any such transaction. Lately, it was known that the guarantees/ undertakings were issued by bypassing the rules in collusion with some Punjab National Bank
  • The violation of the Punjab National Bank’s end was a too glaring blunder to ignore. Hence, a criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore.The complaint included Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, managing director of Gitanjali Gems. But later on, Nirav Modi’s brother and his wife were also found to be included in this startling scam.