The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the police to investigate cheating allegations levelled against Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi in an FIR lodged in 2016 by the owner of one of its retail franchise. A bench of Justice Mukta Gupta asked the police to file a report on the matter while noting that the probe was on a standstill as the complainant and the accused were trying to negotiate a settlement.
The bench, however, said that the interim protection from any coercive action granted to Choksi in April last year will continue. The diamond merchant had approached the high court for quashing of the FIR lodged against him for allegedly cheating an engineer's firm in 2016.
The FIR was lodged on the orders of a magisterial court in New Delhi on a complaint by B. Tech graduate Vaibhav Khuraniya alleging that his company RM Green Solutions had purchased a retail franchise of Gitanjali Jewellers from Choksi on an assurance of high returns.
The FIR, lodged in Amar Colony police station in South Delhi, alleged that Khuraniya and his colleague Deepak Bansal had set up RM Green Solutions and got into an agreement with Gitanjali Gems and Choksi who had assured them of stocks worth Rs 3 crore in the form of diamond jewellery and other gifts on a security deposit of Rs 1.5 crore.
The FIR had also alleged that on the day of opening of the retail franchise store in Rajouri Garden in West Delhi in October 2013, the fraud came to light as they received third-grade diamonds and other items, the worth of which was around Rs 50-70 lakh.
The district court had on June 2, 2016 ordered registration of an FIR against Choksi, which was lodged on July 12, 2016.
According to Mint, Choksi was represented by Sandeep Kapoor who argued that no case was made against Choksi as he was not party to the agreement between Gitanjali Gems and the firm, and that Choksi could not be made responsible "vicariously".
Choksi and his nephew, Nirav Modi, both partners at Diamond R Us, are at the heart of the PNB scam reported to be of Rs 11,400 crore. Punjab National Bank alleged in their complaint that a fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LOU) took place on January 16, 2018 for and on behalf of the accused firms, which approached the bank and presented a set of import documents to the branch with a request to allow buyers credit for making payment to overseas suppliers.
As per the CBI FIR, a total of 143 LoUs were issued in favour of companies under Gitanjali Group - Gitanjali Gems, Nakshatra Brands and Gili India - amounting to Rs 3,032 crore. Since March 1, 2017, Gitanjali Gems received Rs 2,144 crore, Nakshatra Brands got Rs 321 crore and Gili India got Rs 566 crore via these LoUs.
(With PTI inputs)
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