CBI arrests Gitanjali Group VP Vipul Chitalia in PNB fraud case

Nirav Modi

PNB incurred Rs2,808 crore loss due to frauds in 2016-17: Arun Jaitley

The CBI has made a decision to call diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi to join an ongoing probe into the Rs 12,600 crore Punjab National Bank fraud after the absconding businessmen failed to appear before the agency on Wednesday.

Stating that he wants to assure that he is in no manner dictating the terms of his appearance, he said, "However, as my Passport stands suspended by the Regional Passport Office under Section 10 (3)(c) of the Passport Act, it is impossible for me to travel back to India".

He further stated that he was also not in a position to travel due to his persisting health problem.

Choksi, who authorities say left India before the complaint against him was filed and whose passport has been suspended, said he feared greatly that he would not get "fair treatment and a fair trial" if he returned.

Chitalia was produced before a special CBI court that remanded him in CBI custody till March 17. I am further being deprived of my basic right to communicate and the seizure of my servers have effectively denied me my fundamental right to defend myself against the allegations.

Choksi has written that he is anxious about his health and fears that he will not get proper treatment if he gets arrested.

The jewelry business on an global level under the billionaire who has been accused of being behind the biggest bank fraud of India, Nirav Modi, was driven towards the USA bankruptcy protection after the authorities of India started to seize as well as freeze the assets.

Choksi also accused political parties of politicizing the issue.

In its complaint, now part of the FIR, the bank alleged that it came to its notice that credit facilities were not used for the objective - packing credit, guarantees etc - for which they were given.

"Further, SBI Hong Kong Branch does not have any exposure to the Nirav Modi Group of companies and/or Mehul Choksi group of companies whose names are linked to the PNB fraud", it added.

The CBI and the ED have registered FIRs to probe the case and intensified the crackdown on Nirav Modi and Choksi with the ED seizing jewellery and assets worth thousands of crores of rupees, the I-T department attaching various properties, and the CBI grilling several senior executives of his company.

The agency yesterday arrested Vipul Chitalia in the Rs 12,636-crore PNB scam and claimed that he was a "mastermind" who reported directly to diamond trader Mehul Choksi.

An ED officials said that the Directorate will issue LRs to over 15 countries against Nirav Modi and Choksi.

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