Businessman Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Gems and an accused in the Rs 11,300 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case against Nirav Modi, reached out to his employees in an open letter on Saturday, proclaiming his innocence without disclosing his location.
After registering first complaint in Punjab National Bank Scam of Rs 11, 300 crore, the ED also seized gems, diamonds, jewellery, shares, bank deposits and costly cars.
Since PNB disclosed the fraud last week the bank, auditors and the Reserve Bank of India have been under scrutiny over how they could have failed to detect a scam of such proportions. The attached assets include a farm house in Alibag, Solar Power Plant, 135-acre land in Ahmednagar and six residential and 10 office properties in Mumbai and Pune.
The external affairs ministry on Friday cancelled the passports of Modi and Choksi in order to force them to return to India.
"The bank can not recover the outstanding amount of Rs 6.2 million as no security is available with the bank". The agency after arresting a top employee - Vipul Ambani - of Modi's company found that Modi was in direct touch with top bank officers.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported that Modi sent a letter to the bank this week saying he owes less than half the amount claimed by the bank in connection with the alleged fraud.
Both the officials were called at the CBI Mumbai branch and were questioned for over eight hours.
Choksi, in a communication to over 3,500 employees, said it would be "very tough" to clear dues of his employees or pay future salaries, as investigative agencies had seized his bank accounts and other properties, adding that the manner of investigation was starting to create havoc, and were hell bent on stopping the operations.
The fresh exposure provided Congress President Rahul Gandhi an opportunity to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, these promoters have also disappeared while the government looked the other way.
The undertakings, which PNB says were issued between 2011 and 2017 with incomplete ledger entries by the two officials, were used by Modi and Choksi's firms to obtain credit from the overseas branches of mostly Indian lenders. They were not being treated as accused, the officials said.
Absconding diamond exporter Mehul Choksi's lawyer said he is in touch his client, but do know about his location.