PNB fraud: Nirav Modi's firm president Vipul Ambani and 4 others held by CBI

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PNB fraud: Nirav Modi’s firm president Vipul Ambani and 4 others held by CBI
PNB fraud: Nirav Modi’s firm president Vipul Ambani and 4 others held by CBI

New Delhi : The CBI on Tuesday arrested five employees of diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi in the Rs 11,300 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, an official said. Those arrested include three employees of the Nirav Modi group of companies and two of the Choksi-owned Gitanjali group.

Nirav Modi's Firestar International firm's President Vipul Ambani, its Senior Executive Arjun Patil, and Executive Assistant and authorised signatory of the diamond merchant's three accused firms, Kavita Mankikar, were arrested after daylong questioning. Chief Managing Officer (CFO) of Gitanjali group, Kapil Khandelwal, and its Manager Niten Shahi were also held.

The arrests were made in two cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 14 and 15 against Nirav Modi and the Gitanjali group of firms respectively. The CBI had earlier arrested five PNB officials and one authorised signatory of Nirav Modi.

The central agency also questioned 10 Punjab National Bank (PNB) officials, including an Executive Director, and 18 employees of Nirav Modi and the Gitanjali group in the Rs 11,300 crore bank fraud. A CBI team also conducted raids at diamantaire Nirav Modi's Alibaug farmhouse near Mumbai which has a palatial bungalow, an official said.

Apart from the questioning of Mumbai-based PNB's Brady House branch employees, eight staff and associates of Nirav Modi group of companies, including Chief Financial Officer Ravi Gupta, President Foreign Finance Division Saurabh Sharma and Finance Executive Subhash Parab, were also quizzed.

The CBI also questioned 10 employees of Gitanjali group firms -- Gitanjali Gems Ltd, Gili India Ltd, and Nakshatra Brands Ltd. Gitanjali group and its India-based 18 subsidiaries are headed by Mehul C. Choksi.

"Most of the PNB and Nirav Modi company's employees were also questioned for over eight hours on Monday," the CBI official said. The central agency is also said to have seized some significant documents from the Navi Mumbai, Andheri and Dombivli residences of three PNB officials arrested on Monday.

The CBI had raided these places on Monday night after the arrest of Brady House branch's Chief Manager Bechu B. Tewari and two colleagues Yashwant Joshi, Scale II Manager (Forex Department), and Praful Sawant, Scale I officer (Export) after daylong questioning.