PNB fraud: Vipul Ambani, 4 others sent to police custody till 5 March

Mumbai: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday granted police custody till 5 March for some of the accused in the case relating to the Rs11,400 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The accused include Vipul Ambani, former president (finance) of Firestar Diamond, Kapil Khandelwal, chief financial officer of Nakshatra and Gitanjali Gems group, Rajesh Jindal, head of the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank from 2009 to 2011, Nirav Modi’s executive assistant Kavita Mankikar and Arjun Patil, a senior executive of the Firestar group. These accused were arrested on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, additional sessions court judge S.R. Tamboli granted the remand of five accused for further investigation. The court also rejected the bail applications of Kapil Khandelwal, and Niten Shahi, a manager with the Gitanjali Group.

“Investigation reveals that he was aware of all the transactions with PNB’s Brady House branch,” argued the counsel who was representing CBI in the case. “Even though the three companies Diamonds R US, Stellar Diamond, and Solar Exports, were separate legal entities, the LoUs were recovered from the company where Ambani was a senior official,” the lawyer added. LoUs here refer to the unauthorized letters of undertaking sent by two PNB officials on behalf of Modi and Gitanjali Gems-related entities to help them raise overseas credit.

According to the CBI counsel, Mankikar is the authorized signatory on behalf of Modi in all the three firms and those letters of undertaking (LoUs) were signed by her. Patil was arrested in the case for allegedly preparing LoUs that were used for the fraud.

Appearing for Ambani, senior counsel Amit Desai argued that currently, he is president for investor relations at Firestar International and not president-finance. “Not a single reason is given why he was arrested in the FIR and according to the law, the investigation agency must satisfy the requirement as why his arrest is necessary,” argued Desai. “Also, he is not connected with the companies which are part of the alleged fraud.”livemint