The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday told a special court that Vipul Ambani, the president (finance) of Firestar International, was aware of the fraudulent Letters of Undertaking that were allegedly handed out by Punjab National Bank officials on behalf of companies associated with billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi.
Firestar International is part of the jewellery empire of Modi, who is also accused in the Rs 11,400-crore scam. The jeweller has been booked for fraud and accused of cheating Punjab National Bank.
The investigating agency said that the applications for the Letters of Undertaking were made from Ambani’s Mumbai office, hinting that he was “directly involved” in the scam, reported The Indian Express. The CBI added that “there was deliberate act of omission on his part by not protesting the issuance of fraudulent LoUs”.
The CBI raised these points while seeking the custody of Ambani and five others – Kavita Mankikar, the executive assistant to Nirav Modi; PNB General Manager (credit) Rajesh Jindal, Firestar International executive Arjun Patil, Chief Finance Officer of Nakshtra World Ltd Kapil Kandelwal and Nitin Shahi, the assistant finance officer of Gitanjali Gems Ltd – who were arrested on Tuesday. The court sent all six to police custody till March 5.
In its remand application, the CBI said Ambani “was fully aware of the fraudulent and illegal LoUs which were being issued by Gokulnath Shetty, retired deputy manager of PNB, in conspiracy and guidance of Nirav Modi and other employees”. Shetty was arrested on February 17.
While seeking Shahi’s custody, the CBI said he fabricated the applications and thus actively participated in the conspiracy, reported PTI. Regarding Khandelwal’s role, the agency said he was reporting to Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi who is also an accused in the scam. The agency said Khandelwal was privy to all transactions. While seeking Jindal’s remand, the CBI said he had allowed Shetty to continue issuing LoUs without following procedure and policy guidelines of PNB and the Reserve Bank of India.