PNB fraud: Ex-deputy bank manager Gokulnath Shetty, two other key accused sent to 14-day police custody

Earlier today, the CBI had arrested Gokulnath Shetty, the then deputy Manager (now Retd) of the PNB, Manoj Kharat, the single window operator (SWO) and Hemant Bhat, the Authorised Signatory of the Nirav Modi Group of Firms.

PNB fraud: Ex-deputy bank manager Gokulnath Shetty, two other key accused sent to 14-day police custody

NEW DELHI: A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday sent all three Punjab National Bank (PNB) Officials in 14-day police custody till March 3 in connection with the Rs 11,400 crore fraud conducted at the Mumbai branch of the national bank.

Earlier in the day, the CBI had arrested Gokulnath Shetty, the then deputy Manager (now Retd) of the PNB, Manoj Kharat, the single window operator (SWO) and Hemant Bhat, the Authorised Signatory of the Nirav Modi Group of Firms.

Defending one of the accused Kharat, his lawyer Kudrat Sheikh said that his client has no role in the scam. He was just a clerk and was forced to type letters by Shetty.

"The Court sent them under 14 days police custody. Manoj Kharat was just a clerk and typed letter under pressure from Gokulnath Shetty. He has no role in the case, we will file bail application," said Sheikh.

It had emerged that the fraudulently issued Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) from the Mumbai branch of PNB were issued in favour of Hong Kong branches of Allahabad Bank and Axis Bank. These letters helped facilitate Rs 280.7 crore fraud by jewellery designer Nirav Modi among others.

As per the FIR lodged with the CBI, Shetty and Kharat had transmitted SWIFT instructions to the above-mentioned banks for raising buyers credit and for funding the Nostro accounts of PNB, without due procedure. The LoUs were issued on behalf of Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate has been raiding the premises of Nirav Modi across the country. It conducted further searches at 21 locations and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones/ metals and jewellery worth Rs 25 crore (Book Value). According to ED, the total seizure value till now is Rs 5674 Crore.

"ED conducted further searches at 21 locations across India in Nirav Modi case and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones/ metals & jewellery worth Rs 25 crore (Book Value). Total seizure till now is Rs 5674 Crore," Enforcement Directorate told ANI.

A case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him and other accused has been registered. Nirav Modi is currently believed to be in a hotel in New York.

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