PNB fraud: CBI court rejects senior bank official’s bail plea
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PNB fraud: CBI court rejects senior bank official’s bail plea

Rajesh Jindal was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Rs13,578-crore fraud involving Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2018 00:08 IST
Farhan Shaikh
Farhan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
Rajesh Jindal was arrested on February 20.(HT file photo)

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday rejected the bail application of senior Punjab National Bank (PNB) official Rajesh Jindal. Jindal had been arrested by the CBI in connection with the Rs13,578-crore fraud involving diamantaire, Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle, Mehul Choksi.

Jindal was head of Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank when the fraud was in play. The special court accepted the argument, advanced on behalf of the CBI, that the investigating agency had recorded statements of witnesses and has evidence to prove culpability of Jindal in the crime.

As per CBI’s case, Jindal allegedly allowed Gokulnath Shetty, the former deputy manager of PNB, to continue issuing LOUs (Letter of Undertaking), even when the accused companies had not provided a 100% margin against the LOU.

Jindal was arrested on February 20 and is currently lodged at Arthur Road prison. During the hearing, the counsel pointed out that Jindal, as the superior of arrested former deputy manager of PNB Gokulnath Shetty, should have detected the fraud.

The defence claimed that Shetty and Manoj Kharat, the single-window operator in the foreign-exchange department at the mid-corporate branch, had the three passwords required to issue LOU on SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) machines.

The defence had submitted that Jindal did not have knowledge of the issuance of the fraudulent LOUs. The CBI has argued that LOUs to Modi were being issued illegally since 2010. However, Modi and Choksi had fled the country before the CBI registered a case against them.

ED to question six accused

Six of the accused, arrested in the PNB fraud, will be questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) while they are in judicial custody. The ED counsel moved an application before the special CBI court seeking permission to interrogate the accused. Judge SR Tamboli has thus allowed the ED’s plea.

The court has directed the investigating officer to accompany the two officers while they are being interrogated. Initially, ED sought permission to interrogate Manish Bosamiya, Vipul Ambani, Kavita Mankikar and Miten Pandya, who were all employees at Modi’s Firestar group of companies. The auditor Sanjay Rambhia and vice president Vipul Chitalia, who were allegedly reporting directly to Choksi, will also be questioned.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 00:07 IST