PNB Fraud: VP of Gitanjali arrested, top brass of private banks questioned

The Rs12,636-crore PNB fraud was allegedly perpetrated by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi the promoter of Gitanjali Gems

The Rs12,636-crore PNB fraud was allegedly perpetrated by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi the promoter of Gitanjali Gems

Diamantaire Nirav Modi-owned Firestar Diamond International on Tuesday moved to the Delhi High court against the seizure of his properties by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. Tipped about his landing at the Mumbai airport, the agency sleuths picked him immediately upon his arrival and took him for interrogation to the CBI's head office in the Bandra Kurla Complex. During his remand hearing before the special CBI court later in the day, the investigating agency dubbed the accused Vipul Chitalia the "main protagonist of the fraud" and "brain behind the conspiracy" alongwith chairman and managing director, Mehul Choksi.

Terming Chitalia as the "mastermind", CBI said, "He is privy to the modalities for putting through the fraudulent transactions along with Choksi".

'Vipul Chitalia was instrumental in preparing the applications for putting through the fraudulent transactions of alleged Letters of Understanding (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credit (FLC) with the active connivance of Gokulnath Shetty, Dy.

After his detention and later on arrest, Chitalia was evasive to the questions put to him regarding the case as well as the modus operandi and also the identity of other conspirators in this crime. The investigation agency had issued a lookout notice against him along with Nirav Modi and uncle-cum-business partner Mehul Choksi.

The CBI official also said that Chitalia had fled the country along with Nirav Modi in January this year.

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The CBI filed a second FIR on February 15 over a Rs 4,886.72-crore fraud against Choksi's Gitanjali Group.

According to CBI officials, he was allegedly responsible for handling unauthorised letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of credit and maintaining contact with bank officials.

Special public prosecutor A Limosin also submitted that Chitalia was instrumental in hiding the original documents regarding the fraudulent LoUs.

Further investigation is continuing, the spokesperson said.

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