Arrested PNB officials trying to pin blame on Shetty

Arrested PNB officials trying to pin blame on Shetty

Arrested PNB officials trying to pin blame on Shetty

Three of the five Punjab National Bank officials arrested in the Rs 11,344.40 crore banking fraud involving billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi are putting the entire blame on retired official Gokulnath Shetty, CBI sources said on Tuesday.

Sources said Bechu Tiwari, Yashwant Joshi and Praful Sawant, who were arrested on Monday,  are acting as if they had no responsibility  in monitoring the transactions on Letters of Understanding.

Investigators  said that the trio are not cooperating with the investigation and "shifting the entire responsibility" on Shetty.

"They are acting as if they have 'no responsibility' in monitoring the transactions on SWIFT, an international banking network.

"They are acting as if only Shetty was working in the forex department of PNB's Brady House Branch, the nerve centre of the multi-crore scam. Their collusion and deliberate omission have resulted in the humongous loss of public money to the PNB," sources claimed.

The trio were sent to CBI custody till March 3.

Tiwari was responsible for Shetty's work, with the CBI claiming that he had full knowledge of the former's activities.

Joshi, who also supervised Shetty and had  to ensure daily reports of SWIFT and core banking system entries, did not take any action despite knowing about  the latter's actions, the CBI said, adding Sawant, was also responsible for checking the SWIFT messages daily and report but erred in his responsibilities.

Along with Shetty, single window operator Manoj Kharat was also arrested earlier along with Nirav's authorised signatory Hemant Bhat.

Taking forward the probe, the CBI questioned 28 people   - 10 PNB officials, 10 officials of Nirav's uncle Mehul Choksi-led Gitanjali Group and eight officers of Nirav  - on Tuesday.

The PNB officials quizzed include executive director-level officers.

Sources said the CBI has already asked Nirav's senior officials not to leave the country.

They said it was a precautionary measure as investigators want them available for questioning.

Forty employees of Choksi's firm Gitanjali record their statements with the CBI.

The CBI also searched Nirav's bungalow in Alibaugh, while the Income Tax Department conducted searched 20 premises linked to Choksi in a tax evasion case.

The searches were conducted in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Hyderabad.