The CBI today 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. It also said that the fraud related to Choksi-controlled firms is now found to be to the tune of Rs 7,080 crore. 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.
Among others, the agency has arrested Gokulnath Shetty, the then deputy manager (now retired) of PNB, in connection with issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) to Choksi-owned firms. “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 the special court.
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 USD 2 billion (Rs 12,636 crore) from PNB in connivance with bank officials.
In today’s plea before the special CBI court, the agency said it has filed another supplementary complaint about additional fraud of Rs 942 crore, taking the total amount of fraud to Rs 7,080 crore. The agency had initially pegged the fraud related to Choksi’s firms at Rs 4,886 crore when the FIR was registered, and later this amount increased.