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PNB scam: CBI adds charge of criminal breach of trust to FIR; Mehul Choksi, others may face life term if found guilty

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has told a Mumbai court that it has added the charge of 'criminal breach of trust' to the case related to diamond trader Mehul Choksi's firms in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

Among others, the agency had arrested Gokulnath Shetty, a former deputy manager of PNB, in connection with the issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) to Choksi-owned firms.

The maximum punishment for the offence under section 409 of the IPC (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) is life imprisonment. According to The Economic Times, Shetty and Choksi could be in prison for life if found guilty after the CBI incorporated Section 409 of the IPC in the second FIR.

File photo of Mehul Choksi. News18

File photo of Mehul Choksi. News18

"The acts of Shetty prima facie disclose commission of offence punishable under section 409 IPC along with other offences already alleged in the FIR," read the CBI's submission before a special court.

The investigative agency has said that the fraud related to Choksi-controlled firms is now found to be to the tune of Rs 7,080 crore. It had initially pegged the fraud related to Choksi's firms at Rs 4,886 crore when the FIR was registered. In Tuesday's plea before the special CBI court, the agency said it has filed another supplementary complaint about additional fraud of Rs 942 crore.

Earlier the agency had pressed the charge of cheating under the IPC and relevant charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI has alleged that firms controlled by diamond traders Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi obtained fraudulent LoUs and letters of credit (LCs) worth $2 billion (Rs 12,636 crore) from PNB in connivance with bank officials.

Choksi, the absconding promoter of Gitanjali Gems, on 8 February, said it was impossible for him to return to India and join the investigation due to the suspension of his passport and ill-health. In a detailed e-mail reply to the CBI's notice seeking his appearance, Choksi had said that he was not in a position to travel as his passport was suspended and he was undergoing medical treatment.

"I want to assure your good office and good self that I am in no manner dictating the terms of my appearance. However, as my passport stands suspended by the Regional Passport Office under Section 10(3)(c) of the Passport Act, it is impossible for me to travel back to India," Choksi stated in his seven-page letter.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 14, 2018 12:17 PM

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