Mumbai, February 19: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) taking a stringent action sealed Brady House branch of Punjab National Bank in Mumbai on Monday morning from where the Rs 11,378.68 Crores PNB scam was originated.
Notably, the biggest fraudulent case hit Mumbai on Wednesday last week where Punjab National Bank reported that it has detected fraudulent and unauthorized transactions in one of its branches in Mumbai. The cumulative fraud amounts to US $1,771.69 billion i.e. Rs 11,378.68 Crores.
After the scam was unveiled, the Enforcement Directorate registered an FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and conducted raids after the surfacing of the alleged fraud by billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi and his Mumbai-based firms Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.
On the other side, the CBI also registered fresh FIRs against 10 directors of the Gitanjali Group of companies on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act, including Mehul Choksi, the Managing Director of Gitanjali Gems Ltd based in Mumbai's Walkeshwar. The FIR also named two former bank employees said to be directly involved in the fraudulent transactions.
Intensifying the probe, CBI sealed Brady House branch of Punjab National Bank in Mumbai from where the Rs 11,378.68 Crores PNB scam was originated. The action is based on EDs raid at over 45 more locations in 15 cities across India in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
The agency raided 10 places in Bengaluru, seven in Delhi, five each in Kolkata and Mumbai, four each in Chandigarh and Hyderabad, three each in Patna and Lucknow, two in Ahmedabad and one each in Chennai and Guwahati. It also conducted raids in Goa, Jaipur, Srinagar and Jalandhar cities whose locations are yet to be confirmed, the official said.
In Delhi, the ED conducted raids at the Gitanjali brand counter in MGF mall in Saket, Ambience mall in Vasant Kunj, Gitanjali counter shoppers stop in Janakpuri, RCube in Rajouri Garden, Regal jewellers and Gitanjali store in Dwarka sector 11 and Rohini.
The ED on Friday and Saturday also conducted raids at 35 and 21 locations across India respectively in connection with the fraud involving around Rs 11,300 crore and has seized diamonds, gold and jewellery worth Rs 5,674 crore.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs decision was based on the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which filed money laundering cases against Modi and Choksi in relation to the alleged Rs 11, 400 crore PNB fraud. MEA has also asked Modi and Choksi to respond within one week and justify why their passports should not be revoked.
Importantly, Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal Modi left the country on 1st of January this year. Nirav Modi's wife, an American citizen, left India on 6 January while Mehul Choksi left the country on 4 January. CBI received a complaint from PNB on 29th Jan 2018and registered the case on 31st January.