Punjab National Bank fraud: Gitanjali Group's vice president Vipul Chitalia detained by CBI

Chitalia was apprehended at Mumbai airport and brought to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai for questioning.

Published: 06th March 2018 11:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2018 04:45 AM   |  A+A-

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

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Tuesday arrested a top executive of the Gitanjali Group in connection with the ongoing probe in the Rs 12,636 crore PNB loan fraud case.Vipul Chitalia, vice president, banking operations, of the Gitanjali Group, led by absconding diamantaire Mehul Choksi, was detained at the Mumbai airport in the morning by CBI sleuths, taken to the agency’s office, and arrested in the afternoon.

The CBI subsequently produced him before a designated court in Mumbai, which granted police remand till March 17.“It is alleged that he was responsible for handling the unauthorised LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) & FLCs (Foreign Letters of Credit) and maintaining contact with the bank officials,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.Chitalia had allegedly escaped to Dubai with Mehul Choksi in the first week of January. He returned to India on Tuesday, when he was detained, Dayal said.

Sources in CBI said Chitalia was considered the right hand man of Choksi and was a big catch. His custodial interrogation is expected to reveal the entire modus operandi of the Gitanjali Group firms in seeking Letters of Undertaking and Letters of Credit for availing of credit in foreign currency.The firms in Gitanjali Group—Gili, Gitanjali and Nakshatra—had duped Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 6,137 crore through more than 150 Letters of Undertaking and Letters of Credit.

With Chitalia’s arrest, the number of persons nabbed by the agency is now 17, including executives of PNB and those of the Nirav Modi Group and Gitanjali Group. The CBI is probing two separate cases of cheating and criminal conspiracy relating to defrauding of PNB to the tune of Rs 12,636 crore by Nirav Modi Group and Gitanjali Group through realisation of irregular Letters of Undertaking and Letters of Credit.

Meanwhile, the agency on Tuesday questioned Gursimran Kaur Mann, Director of Ghaziabad-based Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd, in connection with a Rs 109 crore bank loan fraud involving Oriental Bank of Commerce.

The agency on Tuesday also grilled Reeta Seth, mother of absconding accused Sabhya Seth, co-accused Puneeta Seth, and his father-in-law in the Dwarka Das Seth case relating to the Rs 389.5 crore bank fraud involving Oriental Bank of Commerce. Puneeta Seth is the estranged wife of Sabhya Seth. In addition, Gokulnath Shetty, a former deputy manager in PNB, who is in judicial custody in a Nirav Modi Group case, has been arrested in the Gitanjali Group case.

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