PNB fraud: ED continues raids, value of recovered assets at Rs56.7b

Enforcement Directorate summons Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi to appear before investigating officer on February 23

Mumbai, New Delhi: Raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its money laundering probe against diamond czar Nirav Modi and others in the alleged Rs115 billion (Dh6.57 billion) bank fraud continued for the third day on Saturday, with the agency saying it seized Rs250 million worth diamonds and jewellery, taking the total seizure value to Rs56.74 billion.

“The ED conducted further searches at 21 locations across India in Nirav Modi case and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones/metals and jewellery worth Rs250 million [book value]. The total seizure till now is Rs5.67 billion,” it said in a statement.

The agency had earlier said it had arrived at the value of the assets seized based on the stock value at showrooms and stores, which was also the price at which the company purchased the goods.

It was also conducting an “independent valuation” of these assets.

The Enforcement Directorate had yesterday summoned Nirav Modi and his business partner and jewellery chain promoter Mehul Choksi in this case. They have been asked to appear before the Investigating Officer of the case at the ED office in Mumbai on February 23.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Nirav Modi and Choksi left the country in January, before an FIR was registered in the Punjab National Bank fraud case.

The raids that began on February 15 are expected to continue Sunday, ED officials said.

ED sleuths are also in touch with a former government-nominated director of a state-owned bank, who was a reported whistleblower in this case, as part of its investigation, they said.

The agency also filed a fresh money laundering case Friday, taking cognisance of a new CBI FIR against Choksi and his companies.

The ED had first registered a PMLA case against the two, besides others, on February 14, based on a CBI FIR, on the basis of a Punjab National Bank complaint.

The agency is probing if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.

Diamantaire Modi, 46, a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, was booked by the CBI, along with wife, brother and Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating the state-run PNB to the tune of Rs2.8 billion.

The bank subsequently sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs115 billion.

The jewellery designer is understood to be a citizen of the country but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are not Indian nationals. They all left India between January 1 and 6, the CBI had said.

Share This Post