ED to question Kulkarni in PNB fraud case
today Nov 8, 2018
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will now question the fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi’s Hong Kong director Deepak Krishna Rao Kulkarni after arresting him in Kolkata in hopes of learning more about Choksi’s businesses.
Kulkarni, who was arrested by the ED on November 5, will now face questioning about his boss Choksi’s finances in offshore companies including in Hong Kong where Kulkarni was based. The ED believes, according to TNN, that Kulkarni was responsible for Choksi’s legal activities and was directly involved in the procurement of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) that would allow Choksi to allegedly procure fraudulent loans from the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Kulkarni managed Choksi’s business transactions from Hong Kong where the ED believes that he had several dummy companies used for money laundering.
Kulkarni is being taken to Mumbai where the case is registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He will stand before a local court before November 12.
Out of the Rs 6,100 crore ($916.9 million) fraud attributed to Choksi, Rs 1,270 crore was diverted to Shangyong Gong Si Limited, a company under the Gitanjali Group in Hong Kong, according to the ED. Kulkarni was the director of Shangyong Gong Si Limited and also managed the business’ accounts. The ED believes that Kulkarni assisted in the circular transaction of goods in order to mask money procured by criminal means.
As Kulkarni was detained at the Kolkata Airport on his way to Nagpur, the ED is investigating whether he had arranged to meet anyone in Kolkata who could be instrumental in the case. Kulkarni’s lawyer, Sha-msher Ali, told a Kolkata court that Kulkarni was returning to his home in Nagpur to celebrate the festive season and was not aware of any charges against him as they had not been sent to Hong Kong where he was resident.
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