NEW DELHI: Trouble seems to be mounting for Mehul Choksi as a designated Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) authority has ruled that 41 properties of the absconding diamond jeweller and his associated firms, which were attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), are money laundering assets and ordered that their attachment should continue. The properties are worth about `1,210 crore.
“Considering the material in the original complaint (by the ED), I find that immovable properties provisionally attached are all involved in money laundering. I, therefore, hereby confirm the attachment of properties and order that the said attachment shall continue during investigation for a period not exceeding 90 days or the pendency of proceedings relating to any offence under the PMLA before a court and become final after an order of confiscation is passed by the special court,” Tushar V Shah, Member (Law) of the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA, said in his order issued recently.
The properties provisionally attached by the ED under PMLA in February this year included 15 flats and 17 office premises in Mumbai, a mall in Kolkata, a four-acre farmhouse at Alibaug in Mumbai and 231 acres of land at locations like Nashik, Nagpur, Panvel in Maharashtra and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. A170-acre park in Hyderabad’s Ranga Reddy district, valued at over `500 crore, was also among the attached properties.
The probe agency had issued a provisional order for attachment of these assets as part of its criminal probe against Choksi, his company Gitanjali Gems Limited and associated firms and their associates. Choksi, designer diamond jewellery businessman Nirav Modi and others are being investigated by the ED and other probe agencies after the `12,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud came to light early this year. They were accused of cheating the nationalised bank with the connivance of a few senior employees.