CBI raids 8 locations, seizes documents in fresh case against Choksi (Ld)

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday said that it has lodged a new case against fugitive Mehul Choksi and his company Gitanjali Gems for allegedly defrauding the Industrial Finance Corporation of India Ltd to the tune of Rs 22 crore between 2014-18.

After lodging the case the CBI also conducted raids at eight premises of the accused valuers in Mumbai and Kolkata which led to the recovery of incriminating documents.

A complaint was received from IFCI Limited against Gitanjali Gems Ltd, its director Mehul Choksi, three valuers — Narendra Jhaveri, Pradip C. Shah and Shrenik R. Shah — and a private firm Surajmal Lallu Bhai & Co, for causing an alleged loss of Rs 22.06 crore to IFCI Ltd.

During the period 2014 to 2018, IFCI Ltd. relying on the representation, assurances and undertaking of the said private company as well as its Director and the value of the pledged jewels on the basis of valuation conducted by the valuers, had disbursed the entire loan amount of Rs 25 crore on the basis of security cover of two times, pledge of shares, pledge of gold, diamond and gold CS studded jewellery.

The accused had started committing defaults in the repayment of the loan instalments. In order to recover the defaulted amount of the instalments, IFCI Ltd. invoked the pledge and the fresh valuation obtained by IFCI dropped the valuation of the pledged jewels by 90%.

“Choksi colluded with the valuers and got the valuation of the pledged jewels done with exorbitant and inflated value. The diamonds were allegedly of low quality and not real gemstones,” said the CBI official.

Choksi, who is wanted in India by the CBI and the ED in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case had gone missing from the island nation on May 23, last year sparking a massive manhunt.

He was captured in Dominica on May 26.

A Dominican court had restrained his deportation after hearing a habeas corpus filed by Choksi’s lawyers.

Choksi has been residing in Antigua and Barbuda since January 4, 2018, days before the CBI registered a case of bank fraud against him and his nephew, Nirav Modi, among several others. The CBI and ED, which have filed separate charge sheets in the case, are trying for his extradition.

Recently on April 11, Subhash Shankar, a close aide of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi has been deported to Mumbai from Cairo (Egypt) by the CBI in connection with the Rs 11,356.84 crore loan fraud case of Punjab National Bank (PNB) involving Choksi and others.

Shankar was DGM Finance in Nirav Modi’s company. A red corner notice was issued against him.