PNB case: CBI files FIR against Gitanjali over Rs 4887-cr LoUs, raids at 20 places
The CBI searched 20 locations across six cities in a probe involving Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Group on Friday in a widening probe into the Rs 11,400-crore PNB fraud case that also involves jeweller Nirav Modi.Updated: Feb 20, 2018 17:17 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a second FIR in the Punjab National Bank fraud case pertaining to letters of undertaking worth Rs 4,887 crore issued to Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Group, and conducted searches at 20 locations across six cities on Friday.
Three companies of Choksi -- Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brand Ltd -- have been named in the FIR.
The CBI’s searches were being conducted in Maharashtra’s Mumbai and Pune, Gujarat’s Surat, Rajasthan’s Jaipur, Telangana’s Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore.
Letters of undertaking (LoUs) are issued by banks giving guarantee on behalf of a company. Other lenders then give credit based on the LoU.
The PNB, India’s second-largest state-owned lender, revealed on Wednesday it had detected fraud of Rs 11,400 crore at a branch in Mumbai.
The companies that received the credit mainly had ties to jeweller Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle, Choksi, managing director of Gitanjali Gems, according to the PNB.
A senior CBI official said fraud related to about 150 LoUs totalling Rs 6400 crore to Modi’s companies in the past six years had also been detected.
“Since the CBI has already registered an FIR in connection with the fraudulent issuance of eight letters of undertaking worth Rs 280 crore on January 31, the agency will probe all letters of undertaking with regard to Nirav Modi’s firms under this FIR,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as the probe is ongoing.
On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate searched four locations in Mumbai and stores in New Delhi and Surat after registering a money laundering case against Modi and a few others. The action came after the CBI filed its first FIR on January 31 that said the PNB was defrauded of Rs 280 crore.
Modi and his family reportedly left India in early January. According to the Press Trust of India, Modi and his brother left on January 1. His wife and Choksi, his uncle and business partner, left on January 6. All are being investigated by the CBI.
The Gitanjali Group has denied Choksi’s involvement.
With inputs from agencies
First Published: Feb 16, 2018 13:12 IST