A pedestrian walks past a Punjab National Bank branch in Mumbai | Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
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CBI is looking at whether to charge the law firm for concealment of evidence or name it as a prosecution witness to testify against Nirav Modi.

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is considering booking India’s premier corporate law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) for concealing evidence against diamantaire Nirav Modi in the Rs 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, said a report Wednesday.

The CBI is looking at whether to charge the law firm for concealment of evidence or name it as a prosecution witness to testify against Modi, said a Reuters report.

The move comes six months after the investigation agency raided CAM offices in connection with the PNB fraud, dubbed India’s biggest bank scam.

The law firm allegedly possessed documents detailing Modi’s dealings with the bank, even though it wasn’t representing him or his companies, the report said quoting K. Raghavacharyulu, a prosecution lawyer in the Nirav Modi case, and two unnamed CBI sources.

The law firm has declined to comment to ThePrint on whether Modi was their client.

Documents kept at law firm

In February, just a month after Modi is said to have fled India, the CBI had raided the Mumbai offices of CAM and seized “incriminating documents and articles relevant to the case”, said the Reuters report.

The documents were earlier moved in a mini-truck in 50-60 cartons to the law firm from Modi’s Mumbai offices, added the report.


Also read: I’m no defaulter, being made soft target for 2019 as Modi govt is under pressure: Choksi


The CBI left with 24,625 pages of documents, which included copies of financial statements of Modi’s firms and details of interbank fund transfers, the report said.

The investigating agency said the law firm couldn’t have protected the documents citing attorney-client privilege since Modi was not one of their clients.

CBI’s preliminary charge sheet filed in May said the documents were concealed in offices of CAM but did not name the firm as part of the conspiracy.

In connivance with certain bank officials, Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi allegedly cheated PNB of about Rs 14,000 crore through issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs).

A Mumbai branch of the PNB had fraudulently issued LoUs for the group of companies belonging to Modi since March 2011.

With over 600 lawyers, CAM has a list of high-profile corporate clients. In the past, it has advised companies such as Google, Microsoft, Standard Chartered and ICICI Bank, according to research firm The Legal 500.


Also read: ‘Vendetta vs mandate-ta’: How Modi can reclaim his anti-corruption agenda, post PNB scam


 

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