CBI grills PNB MD; ED seizes more Nirav properties

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Feb 2018 09:44:56


 

NEW DELHI,

Feb 24,

(IANS),

THE CBI on Saturday questioned Punjab National Bank (PNB) Managing Director-cum-CEO Sunil Mehta and Executive Director K V Brahmaji Rao in connection with the Rs 11,300 crore/$1.8 billion bank fraud case, while the ED kept on its seizure of fraud accused diamantire Nirav Modi’s assets.Both the bank officials were called at the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) Mumbai branch and were questioned for over eight hours. Mehta and Rao were questioned first time even since the CBI filed the first FIR in the multi-crore scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Mehul Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is also probing the financial angle in the case, on Saturday said it has attached Nirav Modi’s 21 immovable properties worth Rs 523.72 crore.The assets include a farm house in Alibaug (Rs 42.70 crore) near Mumbai seashore, a solar power plant spread over 53 acre of land in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar (Rs 70 crore) and another 135 acre land in Ahmednagar (Rs 2.20 crore), along with other residential and office properties worth Rs 408.82 crore in Mumbai and Pune. Nirav Modi, his family and Choksi have left the country earlier in early January.

The FIR mentions fraud of around Rs 6,400 crore.The CBI also filed second FIR in the case on February 15 for Rs 4,886.72 crore fraud against the Gitanjali group headed by Choksi.Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit were used to raise and rollover the amount over several years before the fraud came to light following PNB’s complaint.CBI sources said the PNB MD and the Executive Director were questioned over several issues, including if they had any clue of the whole scam.Questioning of 12 arrested accused persons continued on Saturday, said a CBI official, adding all of them were also confronted during examinations.

On Friday, the CBI also questioned two General Managers and Deputy General Managers of the Mumbai-based PNB’s Brady House branch-- the only branch involved in the criminality-- and raided Nirav Modi’s Kamala Mills firm leading to the seizure of some documents.The ED on Friday said to have frozen Nirav Modi’s bank account and shares worth Rs 43 crore. The ED had earlier seized bank deposits, shares and luxury cars worth over Rs 100 crore belonging to the businessman and his group.

The agency has also frozen mutual funds and shares worth Rs 7.80 crore of Nirav Modi and Rs 86.72 crore belonging to his uncle Choksi.Its action comes in the wake of its ongoing probe -- along with the CBI -- against the two and many others including directors of their companies and bank officials into the alleged bank fraud.

Passports of Nirav, Choksi revoked: MEA

NEW DELHI,

Feb 24,

(PTI),

THE passports of diamantaire Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi, the main accused in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB scam, have been revoked, External Affairs Ministry (MEA) sources said on Saturday.On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the ministry had suspended the validity of their passports with immediate effect for a period of four weeks on February 16 and given one week’s time to them to respond as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked.

“Since they have not responded so far, their passports have been revoked,” a senior ministry source said, noting that in its notice to Modi and Choksi, the ministry had made it clear that their passports would be cancelled if they failed to respond. Ministry sources said that future course of action will be taken on the advice of the investigation agencies.

Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after the fraud came to light recently following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank. The complaint alleged that they cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before the criminal cases were lodged against them.