An employee of diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s firm on Monday moved the Bombay High Court contending that the CBI arrested her in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam in violation of law. Kavita Mankikar, in her petition, claimed that she was arrested on February 20 at 8 pm by officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), contrary to the provision of law which says a woman cannot be arrested after sunset.
She was arrested along with five others, including Vipul Ambani, the president (finance) of Modi’s Fire Star Diamond. Mankikar was remanded in CBI’s custody till Monday. Mankikar was Modi’s executive assistant and authorised signatory of three of his group firms – Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond, Solar Exports.
“The petition seeks the high court to hold the petitioner’s (Mankikar) arrest as illegal and unconstitutional as it was done in gross violation of the provisions of law,” her lawyer Vijay Agarwal said. Agarwal mentioned the petition before the single bench of Justice N W Sambre which posted it for hearing on March 12. According to the CBI, Mankikar had fraudulently signed the applications for issuance of Letters of Understanding (LoU). On January 31 this year, the CBI had registered a case against Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Gems, and several others including PNB officials.
In its FIR, the CBI had listed eight fraudulent transactions worth over Rs 280 crore. But, based on further complaints from the bank, the agency said the quantum of amount in the first FIR was over Rs 6,498 crore, involving 150 LoUs allegedly issued fraudulently. The remaining 150 fraudulent LoUs worth over Rs 4,886 crore issued for Gitanjali group of companies were part of the second FIR registered later by the agency against Choksi and his companies Gitanjali Gems, Nakshatra Brands and Gili.