Four more persons, including two officials of the Punjab National Bank, have been arraigned by the CBI along with 18 others in a supplementary chargesheet filed recently in a case against fugitive Mehul Choksi and others for allegedly cheating the bank of ₹7,080.86 crore.
The new accused persons are bank’s assistant general manager Sanjay Prasad and single-window operator Sagar Swant; Dhanesh Sheth, director of Gili India Limited and Nakshatra Brand Limited, and Sunil Verma, international head of Mr. Choksi's Gitanjali Group of companies.
The other 18 individuals/entities, including Mr. Choksi, were also named as accused in the first chargesheet submitted in May 2018. Among them were bank’s former managing director and chief executive officer Usha Ananthasubramanian, executive directors K.V. Brahmaji Rao and Sanjeev Sharan, and general manager in-charge of international banking operations Nehal Ahad, apart from then deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty and others.
Overseas dummy companies
In the latest chargesheet, the CBI has invoked the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions related to the offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust, causing disappearance of evidence, falsification of accounts, illegal gratification and criminal misconduct.
The agency has alleged that Mr. Choksi had visited Hong Kong in December 2017, about a month before the fraud came to light, and made arrangements for shifting the staff of his companies to Bangkok in February 2018. At his instance, Mr. Verma had floated overseas dummy companies.
According to the CBI, during 2015-17, the accused persons had got issued 165 Letters of Undertaking fraudulently to overseas banks for obtaining buyer’s credit and also conspired to get 58 Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) amended without authorisation.
311 bills were discounted against the FLCs issued in favour of Mr. Choksi’s three companies. The accused officials did not make necessary entries in the bank’s database to evade detection.