Mumbai / New Delhi: The ambit of the PNB fraud has widened: the CBI on Sunday wrote to all banks and asked them to report any irregularities in Letters of Undertaking. The Central Vigilance Commission is also stepping into the PNB fraud to examine the culpability of the senior bank and government functionaries. In a first step in this direction, it has summoned the PNB brass and Finance Ministry officials to depose before it on Monday.
The investigation has gathered speed and the 10 suspended PNB officials were questioned in Mumbai on Sunday. PNB staffer Gokulnath Shetty has made explosive revelations: He has admitted to having unauthorised access to a Level-5 password – the key for the SWIFT software that is used to issue Letters of Undertaking. Such was the extent of connivance, that he had also shared the password with some employees of Nirav Modi’s’ company.
The arrested bank officials have also disclosed that against each LoU, a percentage commission was fixed, depending upon the amount to be sanctioned; the commission collected from the client was distributed between all employees involved in the scam, the sources said. The involvement and connivance of other staff members and outsiders in the scam is also being probed. CBI sources claimed that it was not possible for two bank employees to commit a fraud on this scale without the knowledge of other officials.
In another development, Modi’s Chief Officer Vipul Ambani made a surprise appearance at the CBI headquarters on Sunday. He was grilled by the sleuths, in view of the fresh disclosures made by PNB staffers. The officials of PNB have claimed that when they detected the fraud, Modi’s brother was called in at its branch office, confronted with the scam and asked to make good the defrauded money. However, the latter declined, saying they did not have the funds. When the bank officials insisted and threatened them with arrest, Modi’s brother allegedly remarked: “Do whatever you want.”
The Enforcement Directorate, which continued its searches against Modi, Choksi and their companies for the fourth day on Sunday, is also moving to attach at least two dozen immovable properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED on Sunday raided at least 45 premises, including jewellery showrooms and workshops, across the country.
“As many as 29 properties — of Modi, his family members and companies — that have been provisionally attached by the Income Tax department, are being assessed by the ED under the PMLA. A few more assets will be attached soon under the anti-money laundering law,” a senior ED official said.