In a major breakthrough, the CBI on Saturday arrested two key employees of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) along with an aide of diamond merchant Nirav Modi in the Rs.11,400 crore bank scam, officials said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Gokulnath Shetty, the deputy manager at PNB who is said to have played a key role in the scam from his residence in Malad, Mumbai along with Manoj Kharat, a SWO (single window operator) at PNB.
Shetty had been untraceable ever since the scam was exposed.
The agency also apprehended Hemant Bhat, the authorised signatory of Nirav Modi Group of Firms.
The trio will be produced before the special CBI court in Mumbai later in the day.
As per reports, Shetty issued letters of undertaking (LoU) without approval from higher authorities on behalf of companies of Nirav Modi group and Mehul Choksi for seven years.
Shetty was one of the employees authorised to use the SWIFT messaging system for sending LoUs.
PNB’s retired Deputy Manager and Operator are named in the CBI FIR along with 10 directors of the three private firms namely Krishnan Sangameshwaran, Nazura Yashjaney, Gopal Das Bhatia, Aniyath Shivraman, Dhanesh Vrajlal Sheth, Jyoti Bharat Vora, Anil Umesh Haldipur, Chandrakant Kanu Karkare, Pankhuri Abhijeet Varange and Mihir Bhaskar Joshi.
According to the FIR, it was alleged in the PNB complaint that Gitanjali Gems, Gili India Ltd and Nakshatra Brand Ltd and their directors in connivance with Sethi and other officials had caused an alleged loss of Rs 4,886.72 crore to the bank.
The CBI on Friday registered fresh FIRs against 10 directors of the Gitanjali Group of companies under charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act against Mehul Choksi, the Managing Director of Gitanjali Gems Ltd based at Mumbai’s Walkeshwar.
The FIR has also named two former bank employees who were said to be directly involved in the fraudulent transactions.
Additionally, three companies of Gitanjali Group were also named in the CBI FIR registered on Thursday for causing alleged loss of Rs 4,886.72 crore.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday launched a nation-wide raid on the offices, showrooms and workshops of billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi.
The multi-pronged action came a day after the Punjab National Bank admitted to unearthing a fraud of Rs 11,515 crore involving Nirav Modi’s companies and certain other accounts with the bank’s flagship branch (Brady House Branch) in Mumbai and its second largest lending window in India.
The fraud, which includes money-laundering among others, concerns the Firestar Diamonds group in which the CBI last week booked Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal Modi and their uncle Mehul Choksi.
(With inputs from agencies)