As Choksi refuses to return to India, ICICI doubts recovery of Gitanjali loans
Mehul Choksi, accused along with nephew Nirav Modi in the ongoing Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, has stated that he cannot return to India as ICICI and Axis bank officials raise doubts about recovering money.
Choksi stated that it was “impossible” for him to return to India at present in a letter he wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). "I wish to point out that the Regional Passport Office Mumbai has not given me any explanation as to why my passport has been suspended and as to how I am a security threat to India," the letter read. As Modi has also stated that he will not return to India to take part in the investigation, the two main accused are still out of the picture.
On March 7, a meeting was held at the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) and the ICICI Bank’s Executive Director, N.S. Kannan, and Axis Bank’s Deputy Managing Director, V. Srinivasan, both agreed that there was no foreseeable possibility of recovering money from Modi or Choksi’s companies.
A Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) filing made on March 8 stated that ICICI Bank had no dealings with Modi’s companies and had nothing to do with the letters of undertaking (LoU) of Choksi’s Gitanjali Group. However, the filing did state: "The bank is a part of the working capital lender consortium in the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks wherein its exposure is not the largest." Axis Bank also stated in a filing that its exposure to the Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Group of companies totalled 200 crore rupees (approximately 30 million dollars).
Both banks have stated that they do not see a feasible way of recovering money from Modi or Choksi’s companies. With the two main suspects out of the country and the suspected fraudulently obtained money nowhere to be seen, it is unclear how the investigation will proceed.
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