Punjab National Bank Fraud: Auditor arrested; Nirav Modi won’t join CBI probe

The CBI on Wednesday arrested an PNB, in connection with the Rs 12,636-crore loan scam involving the bank, and diamontaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Published: 01st March 2018 06:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2018 10:17 AM   |  A+A-

Nirav Modi (Facebook | NIRAV MODI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Wednesday arrested an Internal Chief Auditor of Punjab National Bank (PNB), in connection with the Rs 12,636-crore loan scam involving the bank, and diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.  

The CBI also summoned Nirav to join the probe next week saying it is legally mandatory for all accused persons to join the investigation. However, the billionaire jeweller refused to join the CBI investigation, citing his business engagements.

A CBI spokesperson said, “Auditor M K Sharma, Chief Manager rank  (Scale IV officer of PNB) was allegedly responsible for auditing the systems and practices of the bank’s  Brady House Branch and report the deficiencies to Zonal Audit Office.”

Sharma will be produced before a designated CBI court in Mumbai on Thursday, the official added.  
To the CBI summons sent to Nirav via email, he replied that he has some business interests (in the country of his present stay) and would not be able to join the probe.

To this, the CBI asked him to immediately contact the Indian High Commission where he is staying so that his travel to India can be arranged, a senior CBI official said.

Efforts to trace and nab Nirav are underway.

The agency had earlier issued a Diffusion Notice through the Interpol to locate his whereabouts. However, it is yet to get a response from the global police.  

Meanwhile, the CBI registered a fresh case of loan fraud against Kolkata-based R P Info Systems for defrauding a consortium of 10 banks—led by Canara Bank of—Rs 515.15 crore.

The agency conducted searches at six locations in Kolkata on Wednesday, including director of the private firm Shivaji Panja, who was once considered close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The agency also searched the official and residential premises of Devnath Pal, vice-president, finance; the corporate office of R P Info System at Regent House in Kolkata; directors Panja, Kautav Ray and Vinay Bafna.

According to the FIR, the company had inflated its receivables and some of the debtors like GAIL India, Vicent Electgronics (Rourkela) and CEAT Ltd, whereas none of these companies had any business dealings with R P Info System.  

The firm is alleged to have cheated a consortium of banks including Canara Bank, State Bank of India, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Central Bank of India, PNB and State Bank of Patiala.

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