Raids on Nirav’s properties yield Rs 5,100 cr diamond-gold jewellery

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Feb 2018 08:51:12


 

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI,

Five properties belonging to Nirav Modi and other accused sealed by the ED

THE Enforcement Directorate conducted searches in several properties linked to billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi in Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat on Thursday, and seized diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore, officials said.


The raids came after the agency filed a money laundering case against Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and business partner Mehul Choksi on Wednesday, following a complaint by Punjab National Bank.


ED officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five properties belonging to Modi and the other accused in Mumbai were sealed by the agency.
It was now planning to move the Ministry of External Affairs with a plea to revoke his passport, they said.


Agency sleuths swooped down on at least 10 premises linked to the case early this morning. They searched Modi’s residence in Kurla, jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company offices in Bandra and Lower Parel in Mumbai, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.


Diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore have been seized during the searches, the officials said. The ED filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR registered early this month. It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others. The agency, they said, would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.


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 business partner Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 280 crore. The bank has sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs 11,400 crore.


The ED has enllarged its probe to look into the charge of fraud of Rs 11,400 crore, agency officials said. The CBI also raided the residences of Modi, his brother, wife and Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials -- Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the FIR as accused.


“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and a wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to Punjab National Bank during 2017,” the CBI FIR has alleged.


The bank had also alleged in the complaint that a fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LOU) took place on January 16, 2018 for and on behalf of the accused firms, which approached the bank and presented a set of import documents to the branch with a request to allow buyers credit for making payment to overseas suppliers.
The diamantaire is an India citizen but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are not Indian nationals.


Nirav Modi left India with family in first week of January. Nirav, who is believed to be in Switzerland, was also present in a group photo of Indian CEOs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, issued by the Press Information Bureau, in World Economic Forum on January 23, six days before the bank sent its first complaint against him to the CBI, according to the officials.


PNB hands over list of 150fraudulent LoUs to CBI:
BILLIONAIRE jewellery designer Nirav Modi and other members of his family, who fled the country last month, allegedly made fraudulent transactions of over Rs 11,400 crore through 150 letters of understanding issued by the Punjab National Bank, officials said.


Nirav Modi, who holds an Indian passport, left India on January 1, while his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, also left the country on same day. However, whether they travelled together has to be probed, they said.
Nirav Modi’s wife Ami, a US citizen, left on January 6 and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, left on January 4, the officials said.


The bank became suspicious only on January 16 when the accused companies --Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds (all accused in the CBI FIR) -- approached it with import documents and a request to issue Letters of Understanding (LoUs) for raising buyers’ credit for making payments to the overseas suppliers.


The bank, however, could not find any past entries in the system, the FIR has alleged. It approached the CBI on January 29 with a complaint of Rs 280 crore fraud, officials said.


Nirav Modi, who is believed to be in Switzerland, was also present in a group photograph of Indian CEOs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, issued by the Press Information Bureau, during the World Economic Forum on January 23, six days before the bank sent its first complaint against him to the CBI, according to the officials.