The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday sealed the Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) Brady House branch in Mumbai after conducting searches in connection with Rs 11,400 crore fraud involving businessman Nirav Modi.
The multi-crore scam was carried out from the same branch. The branch was sealed a day after CBI took control of the entire branch campus for an intensive search operation.
The CBI had questioned 11 bank officials as well as Vipul Ambani, the Chief Financing Officer of diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s Firestar International company on Sunday.
An official privy to the development told reporters that agency sleuths questioned PNB officials, Vipul and some other Nirav Modi staff and associates for over eight hours.
The CBI has also written to all banks and asked them to report any irregularities in Letters of Undertakings (LoUs), days after the PNB complained about the fraudulent issuance of LoUs and Letter of Credits (LCs) to companies of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
The PNB officials questioned by the CBI are reportedly suspended by the public sector bank. Meanwhile, the agency also uncovered around 200 shell firms and benami properties owned by Modi and Choksi, which are under the scanner.
While the CBI is scrutinising the details of LoUs and Letters of Credit submitted by the Punjab National Bank in the past few days, PNB’s head office too has scrutinised its LoUs and submitted a report to the CBI.
The CBI’s move comes after the agency on Saturday arrested former PNB Deputy Manager Gokulnath Shetty, single window operator Manoj Kharat and group’s authorised signatory Hemand Bhat.
Gokulnath Shetty admitted to unauthorised access to a Level-5 password — the key for SWIFT software used to issue Letters of Undertaking. He said he shared the password with other individuals, essentially employees and directors of Nirav Modi’s company.
Multiple agencies are probing the Rs 11,400 scam which came to light after PNB filed a complaint about the purported fraud involving the businessmen and a handful bank employees.
Meanwhile, Nirav Modi’s CFO Ravi Gupta has been called for questioning in Mumbai.
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— ANI (@ANI) February 19, 2018