Crorepati or Scapegoat? Tracking Directors Booked in the PNB Fraud

While influential jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are caught in the eye of the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud, other directors at the duo’s companies are also under the scanner. But unlike Choksi or Modi, three directors from Gili India and Nakshatra live in rundown chawls, according to an FIR that provides their addresses and other details.

The Quint visited the listed residences of Dinesh Bhatia (director at Gili India and Nakshatra), Aniyath Nair and Mihir Joshi (both at Gili India), to verify if directors at these multi-crore companies do indeed live in chawls.

We first paid a visit to Dinesh Bhatia’s residence in Kalbadevi. The narrow and cramped lanes of south Mumbai’s Kalbadevi are dotted with thousands of chawls – old buildings in a dilapidated condition with tiny accommodations. Dinesh Bhatia’s residence was listed to the third floor of one such chawl – Bhatia Niwas.

Dinesh Bhatia’s door was locked but his neighbours told us that Bhatia lived in the house with his family. However, soon after the investigating agencies began their probe, the family allegedly shifted to another location.

We then set off to Kalyan in Thane district to track Aniyath Nair, another director at Gili India Ltd. On arriving at Nair’s residence, we were greeted by a tenant living in his house.

"Aniyath Nair doesn’t live here, I have been living here as his tenant for about a year now. He had shifted to Chinchpada, which is about 15 to 20 minutes from here. I have never been there." - Aniyath Nair’s tenant

Nair’s neighbour told us that he last saw Aniyath Nair a few months ago, when he had come to repair his house after a portion of the balcony collapsed. But the residence has always been occupied by tenants.

Unable to reach Nair, we moved on to Dahisar in Mumbai’s western suburbs, where Mihir Joshi, another director at Mehul Choksi’s company, lives. There, a relative of Joshi’s opened the door.

"He’s not here, he has gone out for work. I’m just a guest here, I don’t know anything." - Mihir Joshi’s relative

While we were unable to meet the three directors at their listed residences, we were able to establish that they don’t just exist on paper. But what was their involvement in the Rs 11,400 crore scam? Did the function independently or merely sign on what they were told? Agencies are probing these possibilities.

Editor: Kammaljiit Kainth

Camera: Ankita Sinha & Gautam Sharma

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