choksi: CBI files fresh chargesheet against Choksi for pledging ‘over-valued’ lab-grown diamonds to get Rs 25-crore loan

Months after Interpol got rid of a Pink Nook Understand (RCN) in opposition to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the CBI has filed a contemporary chargesheet in opposition to him for allegedly pledging lab-grown diamonds valued at 98 according to cent not up to what was once projected for purchasing a mortgage of Rs 25 crore from the IFCI in 2016, officers mentioned. In its chargesheet filed sooner than a unique CBI courtroom in Mumbai not too long ago, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged that Choksi‘s company Gitanjali Gemstones took the mortgage from the Commercial Finance Company of India (IFCI) by means of pledging 896 items of studded jewelry, that have been valued at greater than Rs 45 crore by means of government-approved valuers.

As soon as the mortgage account grew to become a non-performing asset (NPA), the IFCI moved to understand the pledged jewelry, however got here to a impolite surprise after contemporary valuations confirmed that their price was once 98 according to cent not up to what was once projected on the time of making use of for the mortgage, the officers mentioned.

The contemporary valuation finished by means of the IFCI pegged the worth of the jewelry within the vary of Rs 70 lakh to Rs 2 crore, the chargesheet mentioned.

“The valuers mentioned the diamonds are of low high quality and are lab-prepared chemical vapour diamonds and different inferior color stones and no longer actual gemstones. Accordingly, the account of Gitanjali Gemstones Restricted was once declared as fraud on November 30, 2018,” the chargesheet accessed by means of PTI mentioned.

The opinion of the valuers accumulated by means of the CBI all over the probe additionally put the worth of 896 items of jewelry within the vary of Rs 69.32 lakh to Rs 76.99 lakh, the officers mentioned.

The CBI not too long ago filed a chargesheet in opposition to Gitanjali Gemstones, its former director and guarantor Choksi, government-approved valuers Narendra Jhaveri, Pradip C Shah, Shrenik Shah and Keyur Mehta, assistant vice-president of the corporate Vipul Chitalia and its assistant normal supervisor Aniyath Shivraman Nair, they mentioned.

Giving main points of the money path, the federal company alleged that Rs 25 crore gained by means of Gitanjali Gemstones on September 30, 2016 from the IFCI have been diverted to Premier Intertrade via a cheque signed by means of Chitalia and Nair at the identical day. It alleged that the corporate, Premier Intertrade, existed handiest on paper with dummy companions and staff of Gitanjali Gemstones as signatories.

The entire quantity was once reverted to Gitanjali Gemstones in 3 tranches, the CBI mentioned, including that all the workout was once performed to switch the “color of the money”.

Choksi allegedly used Rs 20 crore to settle the overseas letter of credit score (FLC) issued in favour of Hong Kong-based 4C’s Diamonds Vendors. The investigation confirmed that the Hong Kong-based company was once additionally managed by means of Choksi and had no authentic industry transactions with Gitanjali Gemstones.

The money was once once more routed again to Gitanjali Gemstones, the company alleged.

The remainder Rs 5 crore have been used to pay off a fraudulent letter of endeavor (LoU) within the Punjab Nationwide Financial institution (PNB), discharge remarkable liabilities of Gitanjali Gemstones and in opposition to miscellaneous bills, the CBI alleged.

An impartial frame of legal professionals below Interpol — the Fee for Keep watch over of Interpol’s Information (CCF) — got rid of Choksi’s title from the RCN listing in November 2022 and it got here as a significant setback to the CBI. The removing of the awareness manner Choksi can now freely trip out of Antigua and Barbuda, the place he’s holed up after fleeing from India in 2018.

Choksi is accused of siphoning off greater than Rs 6,344.96 crore from the PNB, the usage of fraudulent LoUs and FLCs.

Officers on the PNB’s Brady Area department in Mumbai issued 165 LoUs and 58 FLCs all over March-April 2017, in opposition to which 311 expenses have been discounted.

Those LoUs and FLCs have been allegedly issued to Choksi’s corporations with none sanctioned prohibit or cash margin and with out making entries within the financial institution’s central banking gadget to evade any scrutiny in case of a default.

LoUs are a ensure given by means of a financial institution on behalf of its purchasers to a overseas financial institution. If a shopper does no longer pay off to the overseas financial institution, the legal responsibility falls at the guarantor financial institution.

According to those LoUs issued by means of the PNB, money was once lent by means of State Financial institution of India-Mauritius, Allahabad Financial institution-Hong Kong, Axis Financial institution-Hong Kong, Financial institution of India-Antwerp, Canara Financial institution-Mamana and SBI-Frankfurt.

“Because the accused corporations didn’t pay off the quantity availed in opposition to the mentioned fraudulent LoUs and FLCs, the PNB made the cost of Rs 6,344.97 crore (USD 965.18 million), together with the past due passion, to the in a foreign country banks, which had complicated purchaser’s credit score and discounted the expenses in opposition to the fraudulent LoUs and FLCs issued by means of the PNB,” the CBI’s supplementary chargesheet within the PNB financial institution fraud case had alleged.

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