CBI arrests 10 people for Nirav Modi-like scam

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In a case similar to the Nirav Modi scam involving Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) Brady House branch in Mumbai, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested 10 accused, including eight PNB officials, in a fraud case worth over Rs 9 crore involving the same PNB branch. Interestingly, most of these PNB officials were also named as accused — and later on, arrested by the agency — in the Nirav Modi case.

The fraud involves the directors of a company, Chandri Paper and Allied Products Pvt Ltd, who were arrested by the CBI for defrauding the PNB. In March, the CBI had booked ex-DGM of PNB, Gokulnath Shetty, and single window operator, Manoj Hanumat Kharat, and these two directors, Ishwardas Aggarwal and Aditya Rasiwasia of Chandri Papers.

Shetty, a key player in the PNB scam worth over Rs 13,700 crore, is already accused of fraudulently issuing many LoUs to Nirav Modi’s companies without any due diligence. Now, he has been accused of issuing two LoUs, using the same modus operandi, to Chandri Papers. These LoUs were issued to an SBI branch in Antwerp, Belgium, on April 25, 2017.

The agency said: “Two directors Ishwardas Aggarwal and Aditya Rasiwasia and public servants Manoj Kharat, the single window operator, Sanjay Kumar, then branch head, Amar Jadhav, Sagar Sawant, Bechu Tiwari, then chief manager, Yeshawant Joshi, then manager of foreign exchange department, Praful Sawant, Mohinder kumar Sharma, chief internal auditor of PNB, have been arrested and remanded to the CBI custody till December 21.”

“The case was registered on the allegations of defrauding of Punjab National Bank, MCB, Brady House, to the tune of around $1421311.82 (Rs 9.09 crore) in the matter of dishonest and fraudulent issuance of two Letters of Undertakings (LoU), aggregating to the said amount, in favour of State Bank of India (SBI), Antwerp, Belgium,” CBI spokesman Abhishek Dayal said.

Diamantaire Nirav Modi, the founder of $2.3 billion worth Firestar Diamond, was booked by the CBI on February 5 in connection with a cheating case that involved transactions of over Rs 280 crore. Punjab National Bank then reported it had detected fraudulent transactions worth around Rs 10,000 crore. The CBI received two complaints from PNB against Nirav Modi, however, it is unclear if the complaints were linked to the banks’ revelation that it had detected $1.8 billion (over Rs 10,000 crore) fraud.

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