PNB fraud: CBI interrogates three officials of foreign branches of Indian banks

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 12, 2018 11:17 hrs
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Mumbai: The CBI on Wednesday interrogated three officials of overseas branches of two Indian banks in connection with Rs 13600-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud against diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, an official said.

Two of the officials are from Canara Bank's Bahrain Branch and one from Bank of India's Antwerp Branch. They were summoned to join the investigations at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s Bandra-based office.

They were examined over the role of these overseas branches of the two Indian banks in extending alleged credit facilities on the basis of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by the PNB to the firms related to Modi and Choksi-- the promoter of Gitanjali Group, said CBI sources.

The agency's move comes three days after a special CBI court on Sunday issued non-bailable warrants against Modi and Choksi as both diamond traders, who left the country in January, refused to join the investigation into the scam.

The CBI on Sunday also questioned an officer who dealt with forex transactions in Allahabad Bank's Hong Kong Branch.

Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, along with his group companies - Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports, uncle and business partner Choksi and others has been named in the mega scam, admitted by the PNB in February and leading to a massive upheaval in the country's banking system.

Earlier, a lookout notice was issued by the CBI against Modi and Choksi. However, Modi and his associates fled the country before the notices were issued. While Modi and his brother Nishal left India on January 1, his wife Ami, a US citizen, and Choksi left on January 6, all before the CBI received a complaint from the PNB on January 29.

The PNB has claimed in different complaints to the CBI that several LoUs - issued by one bank to other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers - were fraudulently issued by its officials in connivance with Modi and other accused in the case causing huge losses to the bank.

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