The CBI today sent fresh summonses to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi to join investigations as early as possible and made it clear to the duo that they were "obliged" to cooperate with the probe agency, officials said.
The agency had sent three summonses on February 19, 23 and 28 asking them to join the probe at the earliest. They were asked to appear on March 7.
Gitanjali Gems promoter Choksi, in his seven page letter which was released by his lawyer, has said it was impossible for him to return to India and join the investigation due to the suspension of his passport and ill-health.
In a detailed e-mail reply to the CBI's notice seeking his appearance, Choksi said his passport has been suspended by the authorities and he was undergoing medical treatment.
He said that on February 16, he received an e-mail from the passport office which stated that his travel document has been suspended due to the reason 'security threat to India'. However, the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, did not give him any explanation for suspension of his passport or as to how he was a security threat.
"I am also not in a position to travel due to my persisting health problem. I had a cardiac procedure which was conducted in the first week of February 2018 and there is still pending work to be done on the same. The entire procedure could not be completed on all veins due to danger to kidney and therefore I am not allowed to travel for at least a period of four to six months," he said.
A response on similar lines was received from Nirav Modi citing that he could not travel to India to join the probe.
In a terse reply, the CBI "directed" him to approach the Indian mission in the country where they were residing so that immediate arrangement can be made for their travel to India, officials said.
The agency has told him that they were "obliged to join the investigations", they said.
The CBI had earlier asked them to join the investigation related to the 2 billion USD scam pertaining to fraudulent issuance of the LoUs and Letters of Credit (LCs) from Brady House branch of PNB in Mumbai in their favour, they said.
The LoU is a guarantee which is given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant a short-term credit to the applicant. In case of default, the bank issuing the LoU has to pay the liability to credit giving bank along with accruing interest.
It is alleged that LoUs and LCs worth close to USD 2 billion were issued to the companies of uncle-nephew duo of Choksi and Modi from the Brady Road branch of the bank through SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) messages.
These messages were allegedly not entered in the banking software of the PNB to bypass surveillance.