HomeIndia3 fresh FIRs filed...

3 fresh FIRs filed against Mehul Choksi in over Rs 6,700-Cr fraud case: CBI


New Delhi: Three fresh FIRs have been filed by the CBI against absconding diamantaire Mehul Choksi on the basis of a complaint from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), bringing to light an additional loss of Rs 6,746 crore incurred by it and other banks of a consortium, officials said.

Four years after Choksi’s dramatic escape and the failure of the state-run PNB to detect the scam between 2010 and 2018, the bank submitted three complaints to the CBI on March 21, reporting the additional loss caused by the diamantaire and his firm Gitanjali Gems Limited, Nakshatra Brands Limited and Gili India Limited.

The PNB and the other members of the consortium had extended credit facilities to these companies.

Choksi’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal told PTI that it was a “witch hunt”.

“When one FIR has been lodged 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.

“Going by that logic, if they claim a total loss of Rs 13,000 crore, they should lodge an FIR each for every single rupee,” Aggarwal said, wondering whether 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 were made out of mole hills earlier. 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 there is a vigilance manual circular that says the consortium can get only one FIR lodged. Each consortium member cannot lodge separate FIRs, he claimed.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed the cases against Choksi, who has taken refuge in Antigua and Barbuda after his escape from India in the first week of January 2018, days before the scam allegedly perpetrated by him and Nirav Modi surfaced, 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 denied him permission to appeal against the move in the UK Supreme Court.

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 the ICICI, the 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 unlawful and unjust gains and thereby, causing a loss to the member banks of the consortium and in furtherance thereof, have cheated/defrauded the consortium member banks to the tune of Rs 5,564.54 crore,” the PNB has alleged.

The bank, in its complaint that is now a part of the FIR, has alleged that Choksi and the other accused “were involved in the fudging of accounts, siphoning off funds and utilising the sanctioned credit limits not for genuine trade transactions”.

The second FIR pertains to alleged cheating 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 the PNB, the officials said.

They said the third FIR pertains to an alleged fraud worth Rs 375 crore committed by Choksi and Gili India Limited on the PNB during the same period.

Choksi took the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017, where he has settled since he fled India in 2018.

He and Modi had allegedly pulled off the biggest banking scam of that time by availing loans from foreign banks using letters of undertaking, a kind of bank guarantee, from the PNB.

These guarantees were not allegedly entered into the core banking software of the PNB by its employees who were party to the crime.

The officials said these loans were not repaid, bringing 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 the PNB approached the CBI with its complaint in January 2018.

In Modi’s case, in a judgment order pronounced at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay denied permission to the appellant to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Choksi’s stay was shaken last year when he was found in neighbouring Dominica under suspicious circumstances. India had dispatched all possible legal arsenal to bring him back, but the fugitive diamantaire got bail from local courts, which allowed him to travel back to his sanctuary in Antigua and Barbuda.

The case of illegal entry into Dominica has also been dropped by a court there. (PTI)

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

CDC Investigates Stroke Risk Of Pfizer Bivalent Booster

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still...

This Cancer Drug Can Increase Longevity, Study Finds

A new study has found that a particular cancer drug has...

American Heart Association Reports Largest Increase In Cardiovascular-Related Deaths

A recent report by the American Heart Association has found that...

Ants Can Detect Cancer Tumors In Urine, Scientists Find

Move over dogs, ants are the new olfactory superheroes. A new...

Read Now

CDC Investigates Stroke Risk Of Pfizer Bivalent Booster

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still looking into the reported stroke risk of older adults who received Pfizer’s bivalent booster shots. Health officials from the agency gave an update Thursday on the issue, which was brought to light earlier this month, saying the...

This Cancer Drug Can Increase Longevity, Study Finds

A new study has found that a particular cancer drug has the ability to extend life span. The finding is a shot in the arm for the scientists racing against time.The study, published in the journal Nature Aging, showed that long-term treatment of healthy mice from middle...

American Heart Association Reports Largest Increase In Cardiovascular-Related Deaths

A recent report by the American Heart Association has found that the COVID-19 pandemic indirectly led to the largest increase in cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S.The data report, published Wednesday in the journal Circulation, found that 2020, the first year of the pandemic, saw the most number...

Ants Can Detect Cancer Tumors In Urine, Scientists Find

Move over dogs, ants are the new olfactory superheroes. A new study has found that ants can "sniff out" cancer tumors in urine samples.The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that ants’ sense of smell is so strong that they can detect...

74th Indian Republic Day Parade 2023 – All You Need To Know

Building on last year’s celebrations, in the 75th year of Independence, celebrated as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the Republic Day celebration this year shall witness zeal, enthusiasm, patriotic fervour, and ‘Jan Bhagidari’, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President Droupadi Murmu will lead the Nation in celebrating...

Here’s What A High-Fat Diet Does To The Brain

Fatty foods taste so good. There’s no denying it. But there’s a new reason to avoid it since according to a recent study, a high-fat diet leads to more food intake and weight gain. Scientists from Penn State College of Medicine reported in their study published in The...

Updated Boosters Lower COVID-19 Risk By Half: CDC

The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters are very dependable when it comes to preventing the disease, with new data showing they cut the risk of getting sick from the coronavirus by about half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new studies on the bivalent boosters this...

Constitution makers’ vision guiding our Republic: Prez Murmu

STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Founders of the Constitution gave us a map and moral framework, the task of “walking that path remains our...

Digital currency to further bolster digital economy, says RBI

CHANDIGARH: Digital currency will further bolster the digital economy, make payment system more efficient, reduce cost involved in physical cash management and also...

Multi-layer security cover in Delhi for Republic Day celebrations

NEW DELHI: A multi-layer security cover has been put in place ahead of Republic Day celebrations in the national capital to thwart any...

Main shooter behind grenade attack on Punjab Police intelligence HQ arrested: NIA

NEW DELHI: A terror operative who was the main shooter in the grenade attack on the Punjab Police intelligence headquarters in Mohali last...

26 unsung heroes honoured with Padma awards

NEW DELHI: Medical professional Dilip Mahalanabis, who returned from the US to serve in 1971-Bangladesh war refugee camps and promoted world wide use...