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Vipul Ambami challenges his arrest in PNB fraud case

Vipul Ambami

Vipul Ambani, a top official of a company controlled by fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi, moved the Bombay High Court challenging his arrest in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, and sought bail.

Ambani, arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last month, claimed that the agency did not follow due procedure while arresting him.

Ambani was president, finance, at the Nirav Modi-controlled Firestar Group of Companies. He is a nephew of Reliance Industries founder late Dhirubhai Ambani.

The CBI had claimed while arresting him that Ambani was aware of fraudulent letters of undertaking issued by PNB’s former deputy manager Gokulnath Shetty in favour of Modi’s firms.

A CBI court here earlier this month remanded him in judicial custody till March 19.

In the petition filed through advocate Pranav Badheka, Ambani alleged that while he was summoned to the CBI office on the morning of February 19 and arrested, he was produced before a magistrate only on February 21, around 3.45 pm.

“The Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that a person must be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of his or her arrest,” said the petition.

Since he was produced before a court after 24 hours, the arrest, and subsequent judicial custody, were illegal, it contended.

Claiming that his personal liberty was violated by the CBI through “wrongful” arrest, Ambani also urged the high court to grant him bail.

The high court directed the CBI to respond to Ambani’s plea within a week and adjourned the hearing.

The CBI has alleged that Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi obtained fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of credit (LCs) worth USD 2 billion (Rs 12,636 crore) from PNB with the connivance of bank officials.

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