The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested an executive of a firm linked to fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi Monday in connection with its money-laundering probe in the USD 2-billion PNB fraud case, officials said.
They added that Deepak Kulkarni was apprehended from the Kolkata airport after he landed from Hong Kong.
Kulkarni was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was expected to be produced before a court Tuesday, the officials said, adding that the ED would seek his transit remand to take him to Mumbai, where the case was registered.
Kulkarni was linked to the overseas businesses of Choksi, one of the main accused in the case, and the ED had notified a Look-out Circular (LoC) against him, the officials said.
He was a director in a Hong Kong-based “dummy” firm linked to Choksi, an official said, adding that the ED had named him in a chargesheet filed against the fugitive jeweller earlier this year and a Mumbai court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The ED had on October 17 seized assets of Mehul Choksi and other accused, worth over Rs 218 crore.
Choksi, his nephew and diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraud came to light this year, following a complaint from the Punjab National Bank (PNB) that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of some of its employees.
Both Choksi and Modi are absconding since the case was registered by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
India has asked Antigua and Barbuda to expedite its response to New Delhi’s request for the extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi.
In July, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua and Barbuda confirmed that Mehul Choksi was present in the island nation and that he had obtained Antiguan citizenship in November 2017.
(With PTI inputs)