Mehul Choksi—one of the chief accused in the Rs. 11,300 crore bank scam reported by Punjab National Bank, alongside his nephew Nirav Modi—was known with the nickname “Pappu” among the diamond merchants. It was a moniker he had from his childhood years in Palanpur, Gujarat. He had started his business as a diamond dealer in Mumbai and soon went on to possess 22 firms and became a customary guest at most Bollywood parties which is unheard of in the business as most diamond merchants prefer to stay under the radar.
Insiders say that Mehul had a practice of organizing large parties to invite powerful people and give them expensive gifts in expectation of specific favors. According to Hardik Hundiya, editor of diamond industry publication Heera Manik Patrika, Mehul Choksi’s modus operandi would be to sign retainership agreements with family members and acquaintances of people that were in positions of power and could help him when required.
As the examinations concerning the case expand investigation offices are concentrating their focus around directors of the diamond merchant’s firms. The FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation has named 10 senior executives of his organizations accusing them of financial fraud amounting to Rs. 4,800 crore. The investigators were surprised to see that most of these “so called directors” of the brand live in Mumbai’s slums and ghettos which show that these men are just proxies for Mehul Choksi’s operations. The families of these men are as shocked as them about the high profile media attention and Dinesh Bhatia’s described as one of the directors say that he had no clue about the papers he had been asked to sign a few months ago when he joined the organization. Jyoti Bharat Vora another “director of Nakshatra” lives in a cramped home in Amboli.