CBI calls Vipul Chitalia 'mastermind' of PNB scam


After hearing the prosecution, the court remanded Shetty in CBI custody till March 15.

"The agency officials today (Monday) questioned S.K. Chand, who is a GM of the bank, in connection with the case", a CBI official said here.

It was the 19th arrest in the case, the CBI said.

His name came on the agency's radar during questioning of other officials of Choksi's group of companies.

PNB official Shetty, who was arrested earlier, was also produced in court on Tuesday. The premier probe agency told the court that Chitalia was the mastermind behind the fraudulent transactions by the Gitanjali Group.

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PNB Managing Director and CEO Sunil Mehta appeared before the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in Mumbai on Wednesday after being summoned for recording his statement in connection with the fraud at the bank.

The CBI and the ED have registered FIRs to probe the case and intensified the crackdown on Nirav Modi and Choksi with the ED seizing jewellery and assets worth thousands of crores of rupees, the I-T department attaching various properties, and the CBI grilling several senior executives of his company.

"There is every reason to believe that he, alongwith Mehul Choksi, is the brain behind this conspiracy and that crucial and incriminating documents are yet to be recovered which are within the exclusive knowledge of Vipul Chitalia", the remand application, filed by CBI before the special court, said. Axis Bank revealed that it has an Rs 200-crore exposure to the scam-tainted companies promoted by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

Firms linked to them allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from PNB during 2011-17 and based on them, obtained loans from foreign branches of Indian banks. "The officer conversant with the present case should also remain present in the court to answer all queries", the bench said.