PNB scam: ED arrests close associate of Nirav Modi

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is at the centre of the Rs13,000 crore PNB fraud

Top finance ministry officials said the ministry had advised PNB to consider settling the dues, subject to the proviso of the refund by the banks in case investigations found complicity of those banks or their officials in the alleged Nirav Modi fraud. PNB has previously said it was ready to honor "bona fide" commitments, but it has also said counterparty banks were partly at fault for not making adequate checks when sanctioning the loans.

A special CBI court on Monday had allowed the Enforcement Directorate's plea seeking permission to interrogate employees of the Nirav Modi group firms who are in judicial custody in the alleged Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.

"The Special Judge, CBI Cases, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi sentenced Charanjeet Arora, then Manager, PNB and three private persons (Sushil Kumar Gupta, Narendra Kumar Gupta and Manoj Kumar Gupta) to undergo five years' RI with fines ranging from Rs one lakh to five lakh", the CBI said here on Tuesday.

It has also been reported that the Brady branch issued Rs 12,900 crore worth of letters of undertaking (LoU) to companies owned and run by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. "The total amount involved is reported as Rs 13,923.14 crore, which includes a report dated February 22, 2018 on additional amount involved of Rs 1,251.96 crore", he had said.

The ED claimed Wadhwa was instrumental in setting up two companies in Hong Kong (Ms Aura Gem and Ms Sino Traders) along with "dummy" directors and these firms "were used" for laundering proceed of crime and substantial amounts totalling Rs 5,921 crore.

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The ED said, "the Money trail traced so far with respect to suspected money laundering" gives reason to believe Wadhwa's active involvement and "his initial ignorance about Doshi is clearly selective amnesia to hoodwink the process of law, " said the ED.

The Enforcement Directorate says Shyam Sunder Wadhwa was in close touch with Nirav Modi and was also involved in money laundering at the behest of and in aid of the diamantaire. Wadhwa is expected to be produced before a local court in Mumbai today.

The agency said Wadhwas custodial interrogation would help it in "unravelling the truth behind the scam".

The CBI said after investigation, it filed a charge sheet against the accused. The matter will be heard on March 31.

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