PNB fraud: Mehul Choksi surrenders Indian passport to Antiguan government

PNB fraud: Mehul Choksi surrenders Indian passport to Antiguan government

Mehul Choksi, one of the key architect of the Rs 14,000 crore PNB fraud has surrendered his Indian citizenship. Absconding Choksi is currently in Antigua where he took citizenship last year. He has deposited his Indian passport to the Antiguan authorities. Passport number Z. 3396732 has been deposited with cancelled pages. He has also deposited the mandatory $177 dollar for leaving Indian citizenship.

Amit Narang, Joint Secretary, in the Ministry of External Affairs has informed the authorities back home about this development, which comes as a blow to the central government. In the form he has filled regarding relinquishing Indian citizenship, Choksi has given Jolly Harbour in Antigua as his new residence. The absconding business has informed the authorities that he has taken Antiguan citizenship and hence as per rules is looking to relinquish Indian passport.

Choksi is looking to avoid getting extradited to India by taking Antiguan citizenship. There is a hearing in this issue scheduled for February 22 in Antigua.

Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, in connivance with certain bank officials, allegedly cheated PNB of about Rs 14,000 crore through issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking. A Mumbai branch of PNB had fraudulently issued LoUs for the group of companies belonging to Modi since March 2011.

The total number of LoUs issued to the companies of Nirav Modi, his relatives and the Nirav Modi Group are 1,213, and to Mehul Choksi, his relatives and the Gitanjali Group are 377. The CBI has already filed chargesheet in this case. The chargesheet has mentioned names of many employees and top management, including former MD and EDs of the bank.

The government has sacked two executive directors of Nirav Modi scam-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB) for their alleged failure in exercising proper control over the functioning of the bank.Their services were terminated from January 18, as per the Finance Ministry notification.

Meanwhile, central government has removed K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan from the office of Executive Director (ED) of PNB with immediate effect, it said.

It is alleged that there were procedural lapses on part of both the EDs as they fail to take cognisance of the Reserve Bank of India advice of linking SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) with Core Banking Solution (CBS) system of the bank.

The circular was issued in 2016. Some banks implemented the directive, while some did not, including PNB.Rao was to retire this month, while Sharan was to superannuate in May this year.

In August last year, the government dismissed Allahabad Bank's Usha Ananathasubramanian in connection with country's biggest bank fraud allegedly carried out by Nirav Modi and associates at PNB. She was MD and CEO of PNB before moving to Allahabad Bank.