THE CBI has recovered from a Mumbai chawl “six sacks” of documents allegedly linked to applications made by firms of jewellers, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, to raise Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credits (FLCs) from Punjab National Bank, sources told The Indian Express.
The documents recovered from a room in Wadala include originals and photocopies of applications of over 1,000 LoUs and LCs raised by the bank for firms linked to Modi and Choksi, who are at the centre of a probe into alleged fraud of over Rs 12,700 crore, said sources.
According to an official linked to the investigation, one of the arrested accused — Gokulnath Shetty, a former deputy manager of PNB — was shown the discovery.
“When these documents were shown to Shetty, he said they were applications pertaining to LoUs and LCs. He allegedly revealed that to prevent the bank from detecting any irregularity, both originals and photocopies were returned to Modi and Choksi after processing the requests,” claimed the official.
“During the interrogation of staff associated with the firms of Nirav Modi, we learnt that a room was rented in the name of an employee. On searching the premises, we came across a heap of documents pertaining to LoUs and FLCs made by the firms associated with the two,” said the official.
Sources said the room was used only for stacking documents.
While the CBI is probing transactions between 2008 and 2017, investigators are currently focusing on LoUs and FLCs released between 2016 and 2017, a period during which the maximum number of such guarantees were allegedly issued, sources said.
“FLCs were opened initially for a smaller amount by creating purported entries in the Core Banking System (CBS) and sending the relevant FLC through SWIFT messages. The accused bank official issued amendments to the said FLCs through SWIFT messages without recording the same in CBS,” the CBI FIR said.
The CBI has also tracked down two suppliers to Choksi firms, said sources.
Sources said these are Hong Kong-based companies who are shown as exporters. Sleuths say they suspect that these are allegedly shell companies floated by Modi. “We are soon going to move the court for issuance of LRs to at least six counties. LR sent to Hong Kong will focus both the banks to whom credit was raised LoUs and LCs and the alleged local firms to whom payments were made,” said the official.
Four more arrested
Mumbai: The CBI Sunday arrested four more people in the two cases linked to the PNB scam, taking the total number of arrests to 18. Manish K Bosamiya, then AGM (operation) and Miten Anil Pandya, then Finance Manager, both of Firestarter International Ltd were arrested for their alleged role in the preparation of applications for the fraudulent LoUs submitted to PNB. The two other arrested are Sanjay Rambhia, Partner in CA firm M/s. Sampat and Mehta, Mumbai and Aniyath Shiv Raman Nair, then Director of M/s. Gili India Ltd. —ENS