Mehul Choksi's associate Deepak Kulkarni arrested in Kolkata over PNB fraud

Deepak Kulkarni was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Photograph:( ANI )

PTI Kolkata, West Bengal, India Nov 06, 2018, 09.32 AM (IST)

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

They added that Deepak Kulkarni was arrested from the Kolkata airport after he landed from Hong Kong.

Deepak Kulkarni was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was expected to be produced before a court on Tuesday, the officials said, adding that the ED would seek his transit remand to take him to Mumbai, where the case was registered.

Kulkarni was linked to the overseas businesses of Mehul 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 said, adding that the ED had named him in a chargesheet filed against the fugitive jeweller earlier this year and a Mumbai court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

Mehul 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 Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are absconding since the case was registered by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).