Mumbai, February 23: Continuing with the seizure process, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday seized bank deposits and shares worth Rs 44 crore of the Nirav Modi group in the Rs 11,378.68 Crores Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case.
The move comes a day after the ED issued fresh summon to Nirav Modi after he failed to appear before the probe agency in the PNB loan fraud case. The ED has frozen bank deposits containing 30 crore rupees and shares worth 13.86 crore rupees of the group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has also seized a huge collection of imported watches from locations linked to the billionaire diamond merchant in connection with PNB scam. An official spokesperson of ED said, “A huge collection of imported watches, 176 steel almirahs, 158 boxes and 60 other containers have been seized during ED searches at multiple locations linked to Nirav Modi over last week.” “Only yesterday, the agency seized deposits, shares and luxury cars worth over 100 crore rupees of the businessman and his group,” the spokesperson added.
Earlier, ED summoned Nirav Modi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and has been asked to join the investigation and appear before the central probe agency in Mumbai on 26th February. On the other side, Income Tax Dept has attached SEZ property of Gitanjali Group in Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has also started its investigation as per the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and rules framed under Chartered accountants' apex body. ICAI taking a strict action in connection with the case has issued show-cause notices to the auditors of Punjab National Bank and Gitanjali Gems.
Billionaire Diamond Jeweller Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after a recent complaint by the PNB, that they allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of 11,400 crore rupees. After the scam was unveiled, the Enforcement Directorate registered an FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Nirav Modi and his Mumbai-based firms Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.
CBI also registered fresh FIRs against 10 directors of the Gitanjali Group of companies on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act, including Mehul Choksi, the Managing Director of Gitanjali Gems Ltd based in Mumbai's Walkeshwar. The FIR also named two former bank employees said to be directly involved in the fraudulent transactions.
CBI sealed Brady House branch of Punjab National Bank in Mumbai from where the Rs 11,378.68 Crores PNB scam was originated and arrested GM level officer Rajesh Jindal. Rajesh Jindal was a branch head at Punjab National Bank Brady House branch. Dozens of the raid are already conducted in this case.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs decision was based on the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which filed money laundering cases against Modi and Choksi in relation to the alleged Rs 11, 400 crore PNB fraud. MEA has also asked Modi and Choksi to respond within one week and justify why their passports should not be revoked.
Importantly, Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal Modi left the country on 1st of January this year. Nirav Modi's wife, an American citizen, left India on 6 January while Mehul Choksi left the country on 4 January. CBI received a complaint from PNB on 29th Jan 2018 and registered the case on 31st January.