PNB fraud: ED arrests man linked to Choksi's business at Kolkata airport

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested an executive of a firm linked to fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi in connection with its money-laundering probe in the $2-billion PNB fraud case, officials said on Tuesday.

They added Deepak Kulkarni was apprehended from the Kolkata airport after he landed from Hong Kong on Monday.

Kulkarni, who was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was produced before a court in Kolkata on Tuesday, which granted three days' transit remand to the ED to produce him before a regular court in Mumbai, the officials said.

This PMLA case has been registered by the ED at its zonal office in Mumbai.

Kulkarni has been linked to the overseas businesses of Choksi, one of the main accused in the case, and the ED had notified a Look-out Circular (LoC) against him, the officials said.

He was a director in a Hong Kong-based "dummy" firm linked to Choksi, an official had said, adding that the ED had named him in a charge sheet filed against the jeweller earlier this year and a Mumbai court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

The agency wants to grill him in connection with half-a-dozen transactions done by the Choksi group of companies in India and abroad, they said.

Choksi, his nephew and diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraud came to light this year, following a complaint from the Punjab National Bank (PNB) that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of some of its employees.

Both Choksi and Modi are absconding since the case was registered by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Choksi was last reported to be in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

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