The Enforcement Directorate, initialising further round of action on Thursday said it has attached valuables and jewellery worth Rs 255 crore in Hong Kong of the absconding diamond jeweller Nirav Modi in connection with the alleged Rs 13000 crore PNB fraud.
With this latest order, the total attachment in this case against the absconding diamantaire is about Rs 4,744 crore.
The ED claimed that it had issued provisional orders under the under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attachment of these assets.
The department has also filed a charge sheet against Nirav Modi alleging that he laundered and diverted over Rs 6,400 crore of bank funds abroad to dummy companies that were under his and his families’ control.
The agency confirmed that “the said valuables were exported through 26 shipments by Dubai based companies of Nirav Modi to the Hong Kong-based companies controlled by him after the registration of the case (PNB money laundering) in India.” They furthered that, these sized valuables, diamonds and jewellery were lying in a logistics company vault in Hong Kong.
It was reported at the end of September this year that the total worth of the immovable assets, including two apartments in New York’s iconic central park, jewellery and overseas bank accounts attached by the ED, were reported to be around Rs 637 crores.
It is notable here that back in February, the ED had approached a special PMLA court for permission to attach Nirav Modi’s overseas properties under section 5 of the PMLA in USA, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and UAE. On February 26, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had filed a petition in the USA court against the bankruptcy proceedings filed by three American firms controlled by Nirav Modi. In July, the court in New York City had ruled for PNB to have a claim on the assets of Nirav Modi in their country.
The ED and CBI have been in a relentless pursuit of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi after the 13,000 crore PNB scam was unearthed. Interpol has issued red corner notices for Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Purvi Modi and Nishal Modi, Nirav’s sister and brother respectively.
In India too, the ED had in May moved the special court in Mumbai requesting permission for ‘immediate confiscation’ of about 7000 crores worth assets of designer diamond jeweller Nirav Modi under the recently annunciated ‘Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance’.
The department has since then attached several of Nirav Modi’s properties and bank accounts worth thousands of crores.
Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraudulence surfaced, in the beginning, of this year following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank (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.