A woman walks past a Gitanjali Gems Ltd. Giantti store in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

PNB Alleges Rs 4,900 Crore Loss From Gitanjali Group Fraud, Says CBI 

The Central Bureau of Investigation today registered a fresh first information report against the Gitanjali Group promoted by Mehul Choksi, uncle of billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, following a complaint from Punjab National Bank, and also approached the Interpol to locate them.

Officials said the fresh FIR was based on a complaint from the PNB dated Feb. 13. According to it, the alleged loss to PNB was over Rs 4,886 crore, they said.

The agency today also carried out searches on the premises of the Gitanjali Group at 20 places in Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Coimbatore.

Searches are at locations belonging to Gitanjali group of Mehul Choksi, other directors of the accused companies and other group factories and plants including offices, factories and residences.
CBI Spokesperson

The officials also said the central agency approached the Interpol with a request for issuing a Diffusion Notice which was aimed at locating an individual.

"This (diffusion) is less formal than a notice but is also used to request the arrest or location of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation. A diffusion is circulated directly by an NCB (CBI in this case) to the member countries of their choice, or to the entire INTERPOL membership and is simultaneously recorded in Interpol’s Information System," according to the Interpol website.

The CBI was confident about getting a location of Modi and his family by today, they said.

Modi, who was alleged to have carried out fraudulent transactions worth over Rs 11,400 crore in PNB, had left the country in the first week of January.

The 46-year old, who holds an Indian passport, left India on Jan. 1, while his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, departed from the country on same day. However, whether they travelled together has to be probed, they said.

Modi's wife Ami, a U.S. citizen, left on Jan. 6 and his business Mehul Choksi left on Jan. 4, the officials said.

The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have approached the government seeking revocation of passports of Modi and Choksi.