Mumbai, February 22: A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday sent Vipul Ambani a senior executive in Nirav Modi's company and five others to CBI custody till March 5th in the Rs 11,378.68 Crores Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case.
The six were arrested in connection with two FIRs registered by the CBI involving Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Gems. All the arrested associates of Nirav Modi were presented in the special court in Mumbai which gave their custody to CBI till March 5th for further investigation.
The six who were given in custody of CBI are Firestar International’s president (finance), Vipul Ambani, Nakshatra Group Chief Financial Officer Kapil Khandelwal, Niten Shahi, a manager at Gitanjali Gems, Kavita Mankikar, the authorized signatory of three companies accused of fraud, and Arjun Patil, a senior executive at Firestar.
Rajesh Jindal, who was a branch head at Punjab National Bank Brady House branch from where the Rs 11,378.68 Crores PNB scam was originated was also arrested. Meanwhile, the CBI has also arrested Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari in connection with over 3600 crore loan default case. The agency has lodged a case on a complaint from Bank of Baroda against Kothari, his family members and three Directors from the company.
Kothari families’ bank details, property documents, pen drives, laptops have been seized by the investigative agency along with their passports. Searches were conducted for two days at the residential and official premises of the accused at Kanpur.
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 the 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 ED on Friday and Saturday last week 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 2018 and registered the case on 31st January.