CBI Files 3 Fresh FIRs Against Mehul Choksi In Over Rs 6,700-Cr Fraud Case | Popgen Tech
Three fresh FIRs have been filed by the CBI against absconding diamante Mehul Choksi on the basis of a complaint by the Punjab National Bank (PNB), which came in the wake of an additional loss of Rs 6,746 crore incurred by it and from other consortium banks, officials. he said.
PNB submits a new complaint
Four years after Choksi’s dramatic escape and the state-run PNB’s failure to detect the scam between 2010 and 2018, the bank filed three complaints with the CBI on 21 March, where he reported the additional losses caused by the diamond and his firm Gitanjali Gems Limited. , Nakshatra Brands Limited and Gili India Limited.
PNB and the other members of the consortium had extended credit facilities to these companies.
How did Choksi’s lawyer respond?
Choksi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, told reporters that this was a “witch hunt”.
“When one FIR has been filed and a chargesheet filed for the total loss to the banks, how can there be a separate FIR now for every small transaction?” he asked.
“By this logic, if they allege a total loss of Rs 13,000 crore, they should file an FIR each for every single rupee,” Aggarwal said, asking if there could be one FIR each for every brick laid for the illegal construction of a wall.
“This is why prosecution cases fail. Many mountains have been made from mole hills before. The case is like dead for years. It has not moved an inch in the trial court. So the truth will never come out,” he said.
Aggarwal said that there is a manual vigilance circular which says that the consortium can get only one FIR filed. Each member of the consortium cannot file separate FIRs, he argued.
All about FIRs
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the cases against Choksi, who took refuge in Antigua and Barbuda after his escape from India in the first week of January 2018, days before the scam allegedly came to light. carried out by him and Nirav Modi, the officials said.
Diamond merchant Modi, held in a UK prison, suffered a setback in his legal battle against extradition on Thursday as a London court refused him permission to appeal against it. – moved to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
The first CBI FIR pertains to an alleged fraud of Rs 5,564.54 crore between 2010 and 2018 perpetrated by Choksi, Gitanjali Gems Limited and its senior executives on a consortium of 28 banks led by ICICI, officials said .
“It appears that in the account of Gitanjali Gems Limited, fraudulent activities were done by Mehul Choksi in connivance with its director Dhanesh Vrajlal Sheth, joint president (finance) Kapil Mali Ram Khandelwal, CFO Chandrakant Kanu Karkare and others to enrich themselves illegally and derive illegal and unfair profits and thereby, caused loss to the member banks of the consortium and thereby, defrauded/defrauded the member banks of the consortium to the tune of Rs 5,564.54 crore,” the PNB alleged.
The bank, in its complaint which is now part of the FIR, alleged that Choksi and the other accused “were involved in the fudging of accounts, siphoning off funds and utilizing the sanctioned credit limits not for genuine commercial transactions”.
The second FIR pertains to an alleged fraud to the tune of Rs 807 crore by Choksi, Nakshatra Brands Limited and others during the period, involving a consortium of nine banks led by PNB, the officials said.
They said the third FIR pertains to an alleged fraud worth Rs 375 crore perpetrated by Choksi and Gili India Limited on PNB during the same period.
Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017, where he has been residing since fleeing India in 2018.
He and Modi had allegedly pulled off the biggest banking scam of the time by availing loans from foreign banks using letters of commitment, a sort of bank guarantee, from PNB.
These guarantees were allegedly not entered into PNB’s main banking software by its employees who were party to the crime.
The officials said that these loans were not repaid, which brought a liability of more than Rs 13,000 crore on the PNB in 2018.
Since 2018, the CBI has filed at least seven FIRs and several chargesheets against Choksi, they said.
Choksi and Modi fled the country days before PNB approached the CBI with its complaint in January 2018.
In the Modi case, in a judgment order handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Judge Robert Jay refused the appellant leave to appeal to -Supreme Court.
Choksi’s stay was disrupted last year when he was found in neighboring Dominica under suspicious circumstances. India had deployed all possible legal arsenal to bring him back, but the fugitive Diamantaire was granted bail by the local courts, allowing him to travel back to his sanctuary in Antigua and Barbuda.
The case of illegal entry into Dominica was also dropped by a court there.
(With PTI Inputs)