The CBI has booked retired deputy director Gokulnath Shetty, the main defendant in the Rs 13,000 crore National Bank of the Punjab fraud allegedly perpetrated by Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, in a new case of receiving a bribe Rs 1.08 crore wine from Rishika Financials who arranged the bank guarantees for Gitanjali Gems, officials said.
It is alleged that the owner of Rishika Financials, Debajyoti Dutta, was tasked with arranging quotes of letters of commitment (LoU) from foreign funding banks, they said Monday.
Officials said that after receiving confirmation from Dutta, Shetty used to issue LoUs using the international bank courier service, SWIFT.
Dutta previously worked for Gitanjali Gems, promoted by Choksi, and allegedly raised invoices of 0.05% of the LoUs issued for the company as a brokerage, they said.
The amount used to be credited to Dutta’s checking account from which 40%, more than Rs 1.08 crore, was allegedly paid to Shetty between 2014 and 2017, officials said.
LoU is a guarantee which is given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to provide short term credit to an applicant.
In the event of default, the issuing bank of the LoU must pay the debt to the lending bank with accrued interest.
Modi and Choksi’s companies took out loans from overseas banks on the basis of LoUs but did not repay them by transferring the debt to the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
It is alleged that Shetty bypassed PNB’s core banking system, Finacle, and fraudulently issued LoUs, officials said.
Shetty, who allegedly played a key role in the Rs 13,700 crore loan fraud while working as deputy manager at PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai, was arrested in March 2018.
It was discovered during the investigation that messages for fraudulent LoUs were being sent to foreign banks by misusing the international messaging system for banks, SWIFT, and without subsequently entering Finacle, thereby bypassing any review of those funds in the bank, they said.
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