September 19, 2018

PNB fraud: CAM now under CBI scanner


Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) – the largest full-service law firm in India with more than 625 lawyers, including about 103 partners – is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its alleged involvement in the INR 13,000 CRORE fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB).

According to a police source and a government counsel, certain critical documents related to the PNB fraud case were confiscated from CAM’s premises in February.

Prosecution lawyer in the Nirav Modi case, K. Raghavacharyulu, and two CBI sources on the condition of anonymity said that documents of Nirav’s dealings with PNB were in CAM’s possession even though the law firm wasn’t representing the diamond merchant or his companies.

Raghavacharyulu said, “CAM was not their attorney in the PNB fraud case, 100 percent sure... that's why they could not cite attorney-client privilege.” The prosecution lawyer said that his opinion was based on regular briefings by CBI investigating officers.

Going by court filings and witness testimonies of the CBI, Nirav’s aides packed cartons of documents at one of his Mumbai offices and sent them to CAM’s office nearby, from where they were seized within a week by the police.

In a May charge-sheet filed against Nirav and others, the CBI stated, “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.”

CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said it would be inappropriate to comment as the investigation was still underway in the PNB case.

Meanwhile, CAM spokesperson Madhumita Paul said that the firm “Strictly follows legal best practices and does not comment on matters that are sub-judice or under investigation.”

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