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PNB bank fraud: First time, RBI officers examined by CBI

A CBI official clarified that the 80:20 scheme was being probed only in connection with the affairs of Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi.

THE CBI has examined four officials of the foreign exchange department of the RBI in connection with the alleged fraud of over Rs 13,000 crore at the Punjab National Bank involving diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. The officials were also asked about the 80:20 scheme for jewellery imports.

Sources said officials were asked about the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking by banks to Nirav Modi’s firms.

“To process the loan, the bank has to attach an external commercial borrowing form. In the loans sanctioned to Modi and Choksi, these were not signed. Arrested accused Gokulnath Shetty (retired deputy manager of PNB at its Brady House branch) processed the loans.

The RBI circular mandates that banks should maintain records of monthly or quarterly liabilities. Banks are required to intimate their circle office which, in turn, needs to inform the RBI, and the RBI has to reconcile the data.

Officials of RBI were asked to explain the procedure, its role and how regularly were audits conducted at PNB,” an official said.

Read | RBI did not audit PNB branch that sanctioned loans: CVC

A CBI official clarified that the 80:20 scheme was being probed only in connection with the affairs of Choksi and Modi.

“There is no separate case or preliminary enquiry in this matter. No other company that may have benefited under the scheme is being probed at the moment,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate Thursday arrested Gokulnath Shetty on the charge of money-laundering.

In judicial custody after being arrested by the CBI, Shetty was formally arrested by the ED outside the Mumbai civil and sessions court and produced before a special court.

On Wednesday, the court had issued a production warrant for Shetty, after which the ED took him into custody.

The ED claims that Shetty played a key role in the execution of the alleged illegal transactions. “He further appears to be a key conspirator and actor in laundering the monies generated… it is imperative to examine him and to confront him with the documents under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” the ED said in its remand application. He has been sent to ED custody for seven days.

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