CBI probing if Punjab National Bank staff tipped off Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

The investigating agency suspects that senior officials had warned the two diamantaires of the bank’s impending action against them for corruption.

Published: 26th February 2018 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2018 08:06 AM   |  A+A-

Pedestrians walk past a Punjab National Bank office in Mumbai, India on February 21, 2018. | Reuters

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Apart from the probe into the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud case involving diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the CBI is also looking into the possibility if the two were forewarned by the bank officials before it sent its first complaint to the CBI on January 29.

The agency suspects that the escape of Nirav, Mehul and their family was pre-planned and they had an inkling of the impending action by the bank against them, sources said.

“Nirav and Mehul had covered their tracks before fleeing the country and remain untraceable despite the Diffusion Notice being sent to all the member countries of Interpol. We are looking into this aspect as well,” a senior agency official said.  

Nirav’s wife Ami and his brother Nishal Modi are also accused in two cases involving a fraud of Rs 11,400 crore.

All of them fled India within three days from January 4 to 6.Officials said the questioning of Punjab National Bank top executives—including Managing Director-cum-Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mehta and Executive Director K V Brahmaji Rao—is also aimed at ascertaining their possible involvement in the scam.

They are also suspected of tipping off the fugitive diamantaires. Mehta and Rao were grilled by the agency in Mumbai on Saturday. Rao was quizzed for the second day on Sunday.

The agency has seized two servers from the premises of the accused diamond businessmen, and the imaging of the same is being analysed to trace the complicity of the bank officials with the alleged fraudsters, sources said. Call detail records of the accused and bank officials are being examined to gather leads to unravel the larger conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that is probing the money laundering angle in the loan fraud scam, will soon send Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to over a dozen countries—including Belgium, Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Dubai, Singapore, Switzerland and South Africa—for seeking information about the overseas businesses and assets of Nirav and and of the Gitanjali Group led by Choksi.


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