February 28, 2021 | 12:34 PM IST

PNB Scam: India’s largest law firm under CBI scanner

The Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into India’s largest law firm after they seized documents related to the Punjab National Bank scam at their office in Mumbai, Reuters reported on Wednesday. India's largest law firm, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas or CAM, is being scrutinised by probe agencies after they seized documents related to the Rs. 13,000 crore fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank from CAM's premises in February, a lawyer representing the government and a police source said. PNB in January alleged that billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his relative Mehul Choksi had for years fraudulently raised billions of dollars in foreign credit by conspiring with staff at the bank.
In mid-February, Nirav Modi's aides packed cartons of documents at one of his diamond firm's offices in Mumbai and sent them to CAM's office nearby, from where police seized them within a week on February 21, a review of the Central Bureau of Investigation's court filings and witness testimonies showed. K Raghavacharyulu, a prosecution lawyer in the Nirav Modi case, and two CBI sources, said CAM possessed documents detailing Mr Modi's dealings with PNB, even though the firm wasn't representing the diamond magnate or his companies.
"CAM was not their attorney in the PNB fraud case, 100 per cent sure... that's why they could not cite attorney-client privilege," Mr Raghavacharyulu said, adding that his assessment was based on regular briefings he received from CBI investigating officers. CAM declined to comment on its relationship with Modi, who is on the run overseas. Its spokeswoman, Madhumita Paul, said the firm "strictly follows the legal best practices and does not comment on matters that are sub-judice or are under investigation”. In CBI’s first charge sheet in May in the fraud case against Modi and others, the agency said that “incriminating documents/articles relevant to the case” were concealed in the office of CAM. No charges were brought against the law firm and it was not named as a witness in the case.

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