PNB Fraud Case: CBI Arrests Gokulnath Shetty, Ex-bank Deputy Manager

By SM.17 Feb, 2018



NEW DELHI: The CBI on Saturday arrested three persons, including former deputy manager of Punjab National Bank (PNB) Gokulnath Shetty, in connection to the Nirav Modi fraud case.

SWO Manoj Kharat and authorised signatory of the Nirav Modi Group of Firms Hemant Bhat were arrested along with Shetty. All three will be produced before the CBI special court in Mumbai today.

Shetty is a co-accused in the Rs 11,800 crore Punjab National Bank scam, in which jewellery designer Nirav Modi is the prime suspect after he and his associates embezzled Rs 280 crore from the bank.

CBI teams visited Shetty"s flat at Rustomjee Ozone complex in west Mumbai"s Malad on Thursday and Friday and questioned his family and relatives. They were probing when the flat was purchased, how the payment was made and what the source of funds was. They also wanted to know about his bank accounts, lockers and other assets.

The CBI has alleged in an FIR that accused bank officials Shetty and Kharat, in connivance with accused companies and others, defrauded PNB to the tune of Rs 4,886.70 crore.

The agency charged that the accused officials issued fraudulent and unauthorised letters of undertakings in favour of foreign branches of different India-based banks.

The officials omitted entries of Letters of Understanding (LoUs) in the core banking system of the bank issued on behalf of the accused companies to avoid detection, a CBI spokespersn said.

The accused in the new FIR include Mehul Choksi (Managing Director Gitanjali Gems), Gokulnath Shetty (retired DGM of PNB), Manoj Kharat (then single window officer of PNB), and companies -- Gitanjali Gems Ltd , Gili India Ltd, Nakshatra Brand Ltd, directors of the companies Krishnan Sangameshwaran, Nazura Yash Ajaney, Dinesh Gopaldas Bhatia, Aniyath Shivraman Nair and Dhanesh Vrajlal Sheth.

The agency had earlier registered a separate case involving Rs 280-crore fraud, which has now been expanded to cover LoUs worth Rs 6,498 crore issued to accused companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi.

In a complaint to the CBI in January 2018, the Punjab National Bank had alleged that 293 LoUs worth Rs 11,400 crore were fraudulently issued to the companies of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from one of its branches in Mumbai.

Forty-six-year old Nirav Modi , who holds an Indian passport, left the country on January 1, and his business partner Mehul Choksi left the country on January 4, CBI officials said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted raids on properties belonging to Modi and registered a PMLA case against him, Choksi and others based on the CBI FIR. Both Modi and Choksi have been summoned to appear before the agency within a week"s time.

The ED is probing if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.