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PNB fraud: ED attaches over Rs 171-crore assets of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi

The ED complaint or charge sheet will focus on the money laundering aspect and the role of Nirav Modi, Choksi and others in perpetrating the alleged fraud.

Published: 21st May 2018 07:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd May 2018 01:49 AM   |  A+A-

Absconding billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi (File photo)

By PTI

MUMBAI: In fresh action against Nirav Modi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth over Rs 171 crore "beneficially owned" by the absconding diamantaire in connection with its money laundering probe in the over USD 2 billion PNB fraud case, the agency said today.

The central probe agency here said it issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attaching four commercial premises -- with the market value of Rs 72.87 crore -- in Mumbai and Surat, 106 bank accounts holding Rs 55.12 crore of deposits, 15 demat accounts containing Rs 35.86 crore, and 11 cars valued Rs 4.01 crore.

"The worth of these assets beneficially owned by Nirav Modi is about Rs 171.26 crore (market value)," the ED said in a statement.

The agency had earlier attached 21 assets - worth Rs 523.72 crore - of Modi in this case, the statement said.

The agency had last week seized over 34,000 pieces of jewellery worth Rs 85 crore from the Gitanjali Group, owned by Nirav Modi's uncle and jeweller Mehul Choksi, who is also wanted in this case.

Nirav Modi and Choksi are being investigated by the ED for allegedly cheating the Punjab National Bank (PNB), the country's second-largest lender, to the tune of more than USD 2 billion or over Rs 13,000 crore.

The agency had recently summoned at least four family members of Modi, including his father, brother, sister and brother-in-law, and his US-based business partner Mihir Bhansali in this case.

The case is also being probed by the CBI and other investigative agencies.

These agencies suspect that Nirav Modi and Choksi could now be in the US.

The duo and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraud came to light this year following a complaint by PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED have registered two first information reports each in the case.

The CBI had last week filed two charge sheets in the case before a Mumbai court, while the ED is expected to file its own prosecution complaint soon.

The ED complaint or charge sheet will focus on the money laundering aspect and the role of Nirav Modi, Choksi and others in perpetrating the alleged fraud.

Both Nirav Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them.



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