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CBI is probing fugitive jeweler Mehul Choksi on the PNB bank fraud charges

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing fugitive jeweler Mehul Choksi on the PNB bank fraud charges. CBI had filed an affidavit in Dominica High Court because Mehul has supposedly renounced his citizenship of India, saying that Choksi remains an international fugitive who continues to run from law enforcement in India. 

CBI’s supplementary charge sheet said that managers of Mehul rented apartments in Mumbai in the names of some of their employees to hide the original documents related to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud. 

The charge sheet mentioned the fraudulent issue of 142 Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and 311 bills drawn under unauthorized amendments made in 58 Foreign Letters of Credit by enhancing its value multitudinous. The total amount allegedly defrauded was eventually raised to Rs.7080.86 crore.No corresponding entries were made in the Core Banking Solution (CBS) system to prevent the detection of the scam.

Gokulnath Raghu Shetty the then Deputy Manager of PNB’s Mid Corporate Branch issued 165 fraud LOU with other accused in the charge sheet. This fraudulent issuance caused a loss of ₹3011 crores to Punjab National Bank. When the accused failed to repay the amount, the bank (PNB) made a payment of ₹3154 crores to six overseas banks. Some of the overseas banks were SBI (Mauritius) Ltd., Port Louis, Hong Kong; Bank of India, Antwerp in Belgium; Canara Bank, Manama.

The charge sheet also stated that Choksi deliberately fled to other countries to run away from the impending criminal proceedings on Jan 4, 2018. It gives details about his visit to Hong Kong in December 2017 and that he instructed all the directors of the group’s Hong Kong firms to shift to Thailand when his fraud came to light. Gitanjali Group of Companies’ international head Sunil Varma is accused of setting up overseas dummy companies on the orders of Mehul.

The CBI requested the court to take actions against Choksi and the other accused of the offense punishable under sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

India has filed in Dominican high court, saying that Choksi is still an Indian because his application for renunciation of Indian citizenship was “rejected”.

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