Officials said on Wednesday that the CBI has filed a charge sheet against Sunil Verma, the former international head of the Gitanjali Group of Companies, and others in connection with an alleged fraud in the PNB involving an amount of over Rs 7,080 crore, in which the group's promoter, Mehul Choksi, is wanted by the agency.
The CBI has alleged in its supplementary charge sheet, detailing the agency's three-year-long investigation, that companies owned by fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi used fraudulent letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit to siphon off over 6,344.96 crores from the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
According to the CBI investigation, from 2011 to 2017, PNB personnel conspired with Choksi and his company executives to illegally issue a huge number of letters of credit to international banks in order to get buyer's credit in his favor.
PNB was duped by staff who worked for hand in hand with Mr. Choksi and his firm leaders, facilitating the fraud as part of a criminal conspiracy.
In the supplemental charge sheet issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), two executives of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) - Sagar Sawant and Sanjay Prasad - and a director of the Gili and Nakshatra brands under the group, Dhanesh Seth, have been listed as accused, they added.
During March-April 2017, PNB personnel at the bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai issued 165 letters of undertaking (LoUs) and 58 foreign lines of credit (FLCs), against which 311 bills were discounted.
Choksi had been living in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018, after fleeing India in the first week of January of that year, just weeks before the scam was exposed.
The diamantaire and his nephew, Nirav Modi, are accused of stealing over Rs 13,000 crore from the PNB by paying personnel at the bank's Brady House office in Mumbai with letters of undertaking (LoUs) and foreign letters of credit (FLCs).
Furthermore, according to the agency, PNB officials did not follow the RBI's circulars and caution notices regarding safeguarding SWIFT (international banking messaging system) activities and instead misrepresented the facts to the RBI.