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In latest update regarding the infamous PNB fraud, it has been revealed that the businessman Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi got the bank’s money in their Mumbai based firms through hawala transactions.
An investigating official told the times of India that in many instances Choksi brought money from overseas into the account of his company, Gitanjali Gems. He subsequently diverted these funds into accounts of various dummy (shell) companies describing the transfers as unsecured loans, from where it was siphoned off through various means, including cash withdrawal.
“In Nirav Modi’s companies, money was diverted after a few days through bogus transactions, but in Choksi’s companies, including Gitanjali Gems, there were many instances when the money returned to India within 24 hours,” an officer involved in the probe said.
The report further stated that around 20 dummy firms are based in Hong Kong and Dubai. Officials said that of the Rs 12,300 crore, Nirav Nirav Modi was responsible for transactions amounting to Rs 6,500 crore while the remaining Rs 5,800 crore was by Choksi.
The report also added that the officials were yet to record statements of directors of the overseas shell companies. One of the largest scam in the history of PSUs is being investigated by the top notch agencies including ED, CBI and SFIO.
Among whom, the ED has already sent letter to Hong Kong, along with Dubai and 10 other nations requesting them to share details of alleged bogus firms involved in transactions.
Officers also told the publication that both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi obtained letters of undertaking, akin to bank guarantees, without the bank’s authorisation by colluding with officials of PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.
These guarantees were used to obtain loans abroad ostensibly to pay for imports. According to investigators, the two would submit forged papers related with imported jewellery. Once the funds were released to suppliers overseas, the suppliers, believed to be fronts for Nirav Modi and Choksi group firms, sent the money back to India into accounts of shell firms owned by the duo through fictitious transactions.
Meanwhile, jeweller Mehul Choksi has refused to join a CBI probe in the $2 billion PNB scam and claimed that “untenable” allegations had resulted in “sudden closure” of his business and exposed him and his family to “threats” from former associates.
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.
‘…Till date the Regional Passport Office has not communicated with me and my passport continues to remain suspended…I assure your good offices that I’m not making any excuse, whatsoever to travel to India,’ he said in the letter addressed to investigation officer of the case.
The agency had asked him to appear before it for questioning in connection with first FIR in which Choksi is named as an accused along with his nephew Nirav Modi, Ami Modi, Nishal Modi. A separate FIR against him and his company Gitanjali group had also been registered by the agency.
The agency had again asked him to join the investigation, on March 16, through an email dated March 13.
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