ED to interrogate Citibank-fraud mastermind Puri
Sources said that they may be arrested under the PMLA if the investigations require.
New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate will now interrogate Shivraj Puri, the mastermind of Rs 461 crore-fraud case at the Citibank branch in Gurgaon under the provisions of anti-money laundering laws. The Directorate will question the Citibank's Global Wealth Manager Puri, who was working at the branch of the bank and is said to have engineered the scam.
Sources at the agency said the statements of Puri and few others associated with him would be soon recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA).
"They may be arrested under the PMLA if the investigations require so," sources said.
Several depositors and high-networth individuals (HNIs) were duped in the Rs 460.91 crore fraud that came to light last year. Haryana police had filed a chargesheet against Puri and capital market regulator Sebi, too, probed the matter as the fraud money was invested in the stock market.
As per a Sebi report, Puri took an exposure of a whopping Rs 1.13 lakh crore in the equity market using Rs 236 crore of 51 high networth individuals and corporates and lost everything following the decline in stock markets.
The government had earlier said the fraud in the Gurgaon branch was going on since September 2009, but major transactions only took place between May 2010 and November 2010.
Puri allegedly fabricated a SEBI circular to lure people into investing into accounts held by his accomplices Premnath, Shiela Premnath and Deeksha Puri.
The fraud came to light after the bank looked into a query from a customer at Citibank's Nehru Place branch about its scheme offering high returns.
After discovering the fraud, the Citibank on December 5 ,2010, filed a complaint with the Gurgaon police, which is investigating the case.
Under the provisions of the PMLA, the ED has powers to attach both movable and immovable properties of the accused.
The entities whose funds were diverted by Puri into the accounts of his relatives include Hero Corporate Services (Rs 13.75 crore), OKS Sapan Tech (Rs2 crore) and Satyam Auto (Rs 25 crore).
Others include Mayar Infratech (Rs 24 crore), Spaid (Rs 62 crore), Karopat Pad (Rs 8 crore), Sunil Kant and Sons (Rs 3 crore), Aero Infratec (Rs 25 crore), Hero Exports (Rs 97 crore), Rekha Munjal (Rs 5 crore), Munjal Investments (Rs 2.5 crore) and Munab Braej (Rs 71 crore).