CBI issues non-bailable warrant against Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has traced more than Rs5,000 crore that has been funnelled through layers of shell companies controlled by jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, two people directly aware of the matter said.

The CBI had written to Modi and Choksi to join probe on their official e-mail IDs but they have refused to join it citing business engagements and health issues. The officer who dealt with Forex transactions in Allahabad Bank, Hong Kong branch, has been summoned from Hong Kong and is being questioned, a CBI official said.

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Taking cognisance of the CBI applications, the special court issued the non-bailable warrants on Saturday. On March 23, the Indian government had requested the Chinese authorities to facilitate Mr. Nirav Modi's arrest in connection with the ongoing probe against him. Both Mr Choksi and Mr Modi have been booked in two cases each related to the bank fraud.

The issuance of NBWs by a court will also enable the CBI to seek Red Corner Notices against both the accused from Interpol.

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Both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are accused of illegally obtaining LoUs from the Punjab National Bank to avail loans from lenders overseas and then defaulted on them.

During 2011-17, Modi, owner of the Nirav Modi brand of jewels, and Choksi, Gitanjali Gems chairman, connived with PNB officials to get letters of undertaking issued fraudulently.

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PNB MD Sunil Mehta has said the worst is now over for the bank, and that it will be out of the mess in six months. Over 18 employees of PNB have so far been arrested, with former deputy manager of the bank's Brady House branch being labelled as the prime facilitator of the scandal.

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