CBI arrests 2 PNB officials, searches Brady Road branch

New Delhi, Feb 17: The CBI today arrested three people — a retired and a serving official of Punjab National Bank and an executive of Nirav Modi’s company in connection with the alleged R 11,400-crore fraud, and carried out searches at the Brady Road branch of the bank in Mumbai, officials said.
The bank branch, which is in the centre of one of the biggest financial scams of the country, was searched by the agency, the sources said, adding that “incriminating documents” related to the case were recovered.
The officials at the branch were asked by CBI sleuths about the process of sending Swift messages — notifications sent by banks to transfer funds internationally, and the functioning of internal software of the bank, they said.
The agency has taken into custody retired deputy manager of the bank Gokulnath Shetty, single-window operator Manoj Kharat, and Hemant Bhat in connection with its FIR registered on January 31 against Nirav Modi, his companies and business partner and uncle Mehul Choski, they said.
The CBI is also questioning six officials of the bank, they said.
The FIR initially listed eight fraudulent transactions worth over s 280 crore, but based on further complaints from the bank, the CBI now says the amount investigated in the first FIR is over s 6,498 crore, involving 150 Letters of Understanding (LoUs) allegedly fraudulently issued by Shetty and Kharat.
The remaining 150 fraudulent LoUs worth over s 4,886 crore issued for Gitanjali Group are part of the second FIR registered by the agency against Choksi and his companies Gitanjali Gems, Nakshatra Brands and Gili, they said.
All these LoUs were issued or renewed during 2017-18, the officials said.
An LoU is a letter of comfort given by a bank, a kind of guarantee, to a foreign branch of an Indian bank on behalf of its client allowing him to raise money from that bank for short-term credit. (Agencies)