PNB fraud accused Choksi slams Indian agencies probing alleged crime

The Nirav Modi Mehul Choksi bank robbery is not the first instance of the public exchequer getting hit by unscrupulous elements in the billion dollar Indian diamond trade
PNB incurred Rs2,808 crore loss due to frauds in 2016-17: Arun Jaitley
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09 March, 2018

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, have been accused of defrauding the PNB of Rs 12,600 crore, with Rs 1,300 crore being added to the fraud kitty on February 26.

"Shocking information available through RTI on February 9, 2018, reflects that under the BJP government's watch, frauds and scams of Rs. 19,317 crore have been reported in India's economic capital - Economic Offenses Wing, Mumbai - alone in last three years", said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The FIR was registered based on a complaint by PNB on 4 March.

An LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks with branches overseas to grant short-term credit to applicants. The bank initially reported to authorities on January 29 that the jewelry groups had defrauded it of about $44 million. It raised the amount further to almost $2 billion last week.

A source and documents reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday showed the amount involved in the fraud is likely to rise beyond the $2 billion mark. CBI has described him as the brain of the conspiracy along with Mehul Choksi, chairman and managing director of the Gitanjali Group and uncle of Nirav Modi, with officials terming his arrest as a significant one.

"Vipul Chitalia was arrested by the agency officials after a brief questioning", a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official told IANS in Delhi.

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In the letter dated March 7, which was reviewed by Reuters on Thursday, Choksi said investigating agencies were acting with pre-determined minds and interfering with the course of justice.

Nirav Modi, a co-accused in the PNB fraud, also declined to join the CBI investigation.

A spokesman for the CBI was not immediately reachable for comment on Choksi's claims.

"We shall be writing to them again to join the investigation", the official said.

Gitanjali Gems Chairman Mehul Choksi has cited health reasons for his inability to return to India.

Nirav Modi will be prosecuted for wrong declaration of value and quantity of the imported Cut and Polished Diamonds, Pearls to Customs and diversion of the Duty Exempted goods to the domestic tariff area clandestinely, the report had said. "I had a cardiac procedure which was conducted in the first week of February 2018 and there is still pending work to be done on the same". He did not say where he was.


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