Finance officer at Gitanjali Gems gets bail in PNB scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday granted bail to Nitin Shahi, the assistant finance officer at Gitanjali Gems Limited. The firm owned by Mehul Choksi, an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

The CBI has accused Mr. Shahi of entering into a criminal conspiracy with PNB officials. The charge sheet reads, “The objective was to defraud PNB by inducing the bank to issue letter of understandings (LoUs)/foreign letters of credit (FLCs) through Gitanjali Gems Limited, Gili India Limited and Nakshatra Brand Limited. This was done by dishonestly misrepresenting and submitting documents to the bank and misappropriating the funds of the bank, whereby committing offences of cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal misconduct by abuse of official position as public official.”

The charges

The agency also stated, “He is also accused of preparing majority of LoU applications used by the three companies and applications for fraudulently enhancing the value of the FLCs issued in favour of the three by Brady House.”

Mr. Shahi’s lawyer had contended that he was a junior-level employee who followed orders without being aware of wrongdoings. He argued that the most influential accused, including Usha Ananthasubramanian, former managing director and chief executive officer of PNB, remain charge-sheeted without arrest, while employees of Nirav Modi and Mr. Choksi’s companies languish in jail.

On June 25, Mr. Shahi had made an application before a CBI court seeking arraignment of a witness, Debajyoti Dutta, as an accused. The application had pointed out Mr. Dutta was given a share of the commission by key accused Gokulnath Shetty, the then deputy general manager of the PNB’s Brady House branch. Mr. Shetty is accused of illegally issuing LoUs to Gitanjali Gems.

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