Mumbai: In a fresh round of attachments in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a provisional attachment order attaching assets worth ₹14.45 crore of Gitanjali Group of companies and its director Mehul Choksi.
“The attached assets are in the form of immovable properties comprising of a flat admeasuring 1460 square feet at O2 Tower, located at Goregaon, Mumbai and movable assets in form gold, platinum jewellary, diamond stones and pearl-silver necklaces, watches and Mercedes Benz car held in name of Gitanjali Group of companies and its director Mehul Choksi,” the ED said in a statement issued on Thursday.
ED initiated investigation in money laundering case against Choksi and others on February 15, 2018 under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 on the basis of FIR registered by Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI). The accused have been charged for cheating against PNB in connivance with certain bank officials by fraudulently getting the Letter Of Undertaking (LoU) causing wrongful loss to the bank.
A LoU is a guarantee by the bank that should the borrower default on repayment, it would pay back the money to the original lender. The ED probe revealed that the fraud was committed by fraudulently getting the LOUs issued and got the FLCs (foreign letter of credit) enhanced without following prescribed procedure and caused a wrongful loss to the bank.
“During investigation under PMLA, it is revealed that PNB bank officials in connivance with Choksi, Gitanjali Gems and others originally issued FLCs for smaller amount within the sanctioned limit and once FLC number was generated, same number was used for amendment by way of enhancement of FLC by way of increase in the amount and such enhancement of amount was done at 4-5 times higher value of the original FLC amount and such amendments were done outside the CBS system and hence it was not captured in the books of bank,” the agency said.
“Further it is also found that branch was holding documents of original FLC amount and no import documents of such increased amount were found in the branch and much of fraudulent FLCs payments have gone to liquidate the overseas exporter’s liability arising out of earlier FLCs/discounting of bills,” it added.
Earlier ED has already attached properties worth more than ₹ 2,550 crore and now ED has attached assets worth ₹ 14.45 crore of Gitanjali Group of Companies and Choksi.