Court takes cognisance of charges against ex-banker in DA case

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Mumbai, Feb 18 (PTI) A special CBI court here on Thursday took the cognisance of a charge-sheet filed against Gokulnath Shetty, a retired deputy manager of Punjab National Bank (PNB), and his wife in a disproportionate assets case, and also issued summons to them.

Shetty is also accused of helping fugitive diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi perpetrate a multi- crore scam at the government lender when he was in service.

The CBI's Anti-Corruption Bureau had, in October 2020, filed the charge-sheet against the couple for amassing disproportionate assets worth over Rs 4.28 crore during 2011- 17, a period when the scam was being perpetrated at the Brady House branch of PNB in Mumbai where Shetty was posted.

It is the contention of the probe agency that the accused couple (both public servants) amassed a large number of movable and immovable properties from April 1, 2011 to May 31, 2017, in their names and those of their family members, which were disproportionate to their know sources of income.

The duo has been charged under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sanction orders against both the accused (to prosecute them) were also filed with the chargesheet, the CBI court noted.

Therefore, keeping in view the contention in the charge-sheet and evidence so produced along with it, a prima facie case appears to have been made out against the accused to proceed further for the offences alleged against them, the court observed.

The court took cognisance of the probe agency's charge-sheet and issued summons to Shetty and his wife, asking them to remain present before it on March 6.

Shetty, who is alleged to have played a key role in the Rs 13,700-crore loan fraud at PNB while working as the deputy manager at the bank's Brady House branch, was arrested in March 2018. He is also an accused in the PNB scam case.

The scam surfaced when companies owned by Nirav Modi and Choksi approached the Brady House branch in January 2018, after the retirement of Shetty in 2017, seeking renewal of Letter of Undertaking (LoU), issued by PNB, for payments to suppliers.

An LoU is a guarantee which is given by an issuing bank to Indian lenders having branches abroad to grant a short-term credit to the applicant.

In case of default, the bank issuing the LoU has to pay the liability to the credit-giving bank along with accruing interest. PTI AVI RSY RSY