The Hush Post: The ‘main protagonist of the fraud’ and the ‘brain behind the conspiracy’ in the Rs 12,600 crore PNB fraud scam Vipul Chitalia was arrested by the CBI on Tuesday. He was intercepted by the immigration authorities at Mumbai airport following his arrival from Bangkok on Tuesday morning after which he was handed over to the CBI. A Look Out Circular (LOC) had been issued earlier against Chitalia, Choksi and others. Chitalia had gone to Bangkok on January 26. Special judge SR Tamboli sent Chitalia to CBI custody until March 17.
Chitalia did not have a lawyer present in court and was provided one through Legal Aid on the court’s orders. A family member informed the court that his lawyer would be present at the next hearing.
The CBI said that Chitalia was looking after the entire banking operations for the group and that he was instrumental in hiding incriminating documents. He was responsible for handling the unauthorised Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) and maintaining contact with the bank officials who were instrumental in the fraud. “He was directly getting the same done through the assistant finance manager of the Gitanjali group Nitin Shahi. He is also privy to the modalities for putting through the transactions along with Choksi,” the CBI said.
During his remand hearing before the special CBI court later in the day, the CBI called him the “main protagonist of the fraud” and “brain behind the conspiracy” alongwith chairman and managing director Mehul Choksi. Chitalia is the 19th accused to be arrested in the case.