CBI calls Vipul Chitalia as 'mastermind' of PNB scam

ANI | Updated: Mar 06, 2018 19:27 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] March 06 (ANI): A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Tuesday sent Vipul Chitalia, the Vice President of Banking Operations of Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Group, to CBI custody till March 17 in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

Chitalia was arrested from the Mumbai airport on Tuesday morning by the CBI, soon after he landed in the city from Bangkok.

Later, he was produced before the Special CBI court.

The CBI told the court that Chitalia was instrumental in preparing fraudulent Letters of Understanding (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credit (FLC).

"Vipul Chitalia was instrumental in preparing the applications for putting through the fraudulent transactions of alleged Letters of Understanding (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credit (FLC) with the active connivance of Gokulnath Shetty, Dy. Manager, Punjab National Bank and unknown persons," the CBI told the court.

The premier probe agency told the court that Chitalia was the mastermind behind the fraudulent transactions by the Gitanjali Group.

It added: "Chitalia was also the authorized signatory of the Gitanjali Group of Companies for the issuance of applications for LOUs/FLCs. He is the master-mind for putting through such fraudulent transactions along with Mehul Choksi, Chairman & Managing Director. He is also privy to the modalities for putting through the said transactions along with Mehul Choksi who has fled the country and is evading the process of law."

The CBI told the court Chitalia was non-cooperative during interrogation and did not divulge details about the modus operandi and other conspirators in this crime.

Seeking his custody, the premier probe agency said Chitalia along with Choksi is the brain behind this conspiracy and that crucial and incriminating documents are yet to be recovered /seized which are within the exclusive knowledge of Chitalia.

Choksi, along with diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, has been accused of defrauding the PNB of Rs 12,600 crore, including Rs 1,300 crore being added to the fraud kitty on February 26. (ANI)