The government is strengthening laws to deal with absconding economic offenders such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya and aggressively pursuing cases against them in courts abroad, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.
Modi, who is reportedly in the UK attempting a political asylum, and Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali group whose whereabouts are unknown as yet, are on the run since the CBI registered an FIR against them on January 31.
The directorate, which has been in the thick of action, had last week quizzed Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra for over 10 hours in a Rs 2000-crore bitcoin scam.
The move comes as the agency is planning to file a Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi
The second chargesheet has been registered for a total amount of Rs 7,080.86 crore, covering 142 letters of undertaking (LOUs) and 58 foreign letters of credit (FLCs). It names 16 entities and individuals, including top PNB officials.
Modi along with his wife Ami, a US citizen, brother Nishal a Belgian, and uncle Choksi, Gitanjali group's promoter, had fled the country before the bank approached the CBI with a complaint against his companies for allegedly cheating through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta were hearing a plea by Choksi's firm challenging the alleged illegal seizure of documents and articles by the probe agency in a money laundering case in connection with the over Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill denied the speculation that the Congress had put on hold the ticket of Mehul Choksi’s lawyer, HS Chandramouli.
Banks will have to make provisioning of Rs 8,000 crore for Gitanjali alone as there has been no servicing of the working capital loan during Q4.
The agency questioned three officials from foreign branches of Indian banks, which had given credit facilities to the companies of absconding billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, on the basis of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai.
CBI has questioned officers from Allahabad Bank’s Hong Kong branch in relation to the extension of credit facilities on the basis of letter of undertaking (LoUs) issued by PNB.
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A case in point is the Union Cabinet’s decision to set up the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) to oversee accounting and auditing practices at all listed and large unlisted companies.
In his latest letter to the CBI dated March 16, Choksi also mentioned his medical condition, suspended passport, media trial to decline the agency's communication asking him to join the probe.
Choksi had earlier written a similar letter to CBI, in which he had said that he was facing threats from people who he had business relations with.
Attorney General KK Venugopal opposed a suggestion mooted by the top court that the government should submit a stays report on investigation in a sealed cover envelope.
Officials said the agency had sought issuance of the Interpol warrant against the two, based on court-issued non-bailable warrants obtained by it in a money laundering case.
PNB, the second-biggest Indian state-run lender, uncovered in January the alleged fraud in which certain bank officials were suspected of colluding with Modi and Choksi to issue fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) for their firms to raise loans from overseas branches of mostly Indian banks.
According to sources, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi also used these fake receipts to show fictitious revenue turnover in their books
The UPA government had selected 13 companies in 2013 to import gold and sell in the domestic markets. These companies sold the gold at premium prices.
Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the alleged fraud at Punjab National Bank, has written to the CBI, expressing his inability to return to India to face charges.
In a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), one of the lead agencies probing the alleged loan fraud, the jeweller said the seizure of his assets, bank accounts and the shutting down of all his offices in India has caused prejudice against him.
India Bullion and Jewellers Association had accused the previous UPA government of “deliberately yielding to the cronies” by changing the gold policy days before demitting office
Chitalia was produced before a special CBI court here in the afternoon after he was detained at the airport and questioned by the agency. Judge S R Tamboli remanded him in CBI custody till March 17.
It is alleged that Choksi and Nirav Modi got LoUs and Foreign Letters of Credit issued of Rs 12,636 cr