Choksi, Gitanjali, Nakshatra – all accused in CBI chargesheet

Gitanjali group owner Mehul Choksi (in pic) and Allahabad Bank CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian along with 13 others were on Wednesday charged by the CBI for alleged cheating and corruption in the issuance of fraudulent letters of undertakings worth Rs 7,080.86 crore from Punjab National Bank.

In addition, three companies of Choksi — Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra Brands — have also been made accused in the chargesheet filed before a special CBI court in Mumbai, officials said.

The chargesheet pertains to a second FIR related to alleged crimes of Choksi and his companies in the series of three such cases registered by the investigative agency in the over Rs 13,000 crore fraud in which the jeweller’s nephew Nirav Modi is also an accused, they said.

The agency has alleged that Rs 7080.86 crore were siphoned off by Choksi and his companies using 142 letters of undertaking and 58 foreign letters of credit, the officials said.
Choksi and Modi are both absconding. The agency had on May 14 filed a chargesheet in a related case against diamond merchant Modi pertaining to alleged swindling of Rs 6,498.20 crore using fraudulent LoUs issued from PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.

The cumulative figure of the funds swindled by Choksi and Modi now stands at Rs 13,579.06 crore from PNB by using fraudulent LoUs, according to the chargesheets, the officials said. An LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant. Choksi and his companies allegedly availed credit from overseas branches of Indian banks using the fraudulent guarantees of PNB given through LoUs and letters of credit issued by the Brady House branch in Mumbai, which were not repaid bringing the liability on the state run bank, the officials said.

The chargesheetalleged that Gokulnath Shetty, a deputy manager in PNB, arrested by the CBI, received Rs 1 crore from the companies of Choksi to issue LoUs to his companies, they said.

This quid pro quo pertains specifically to alleged illicit payments made by the companies of Choksi, they said, adding that the probe into the overall picture to establish the total amount alleged received from companies of Modi and Choksi is still underway.