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ED attaches overseas properties of Nirav Modi worth Rs 618 crore

Nirav and Choksi, fellow diamantaires, are accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank out of Rs 13,000 crore

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in New Delhi
  • Published 2.10.18, 2:07 AM
  • Updated 2.10.18, 2:07 AM
  • 2 mins read
Nirav Modi

The Enforcement Directorate attached overseas properties worth Rs 618 crore belonging to bank-fraud accused Nirav Modi and family members in recent weeks, including two luxury apartments in New York and one in London, agency sources said.

They said the directorate had brought back diamond jewellery, belonging to Nirav and worth about Rs 22.69 crore, from Hong Kong in 23 shipments.

“Bringing back the proceeds of crime from a foreign jurisdiction is perhaps unique to Nirav Modi and (his uncle) Mehul Choksi case,” the agency said in a statement.

Nirav and Choksi, fellow diamantaires, are accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank out of Rs 13,000 crore. Both had fled India in January after the CBI registered an FIR in the case.

“Based on independent evaluation the agency has attached assets worth about Rs 4,287 crore of (Nirav) Modi and his family, including Choksi, till now,” a senior directorate official said.

A week after the bank scam came to light in February, the directorate had raided 17 premises belonging to Nirav and Choksi in Gujarat and Hyderabad and claimed to have recovered stocks worth Rs 5,100 crore including gold and diamond jewellery.

Independent valuation later pegged the sum at a much lower figure, to the embarrassment of the agency brass.

“For instance, the gold and diamond jewellery seized from Modi’s firms located in the special economic zone of Gujarat was initially pegged at Rs 3,850 crore but the independent valuation later brought it down to only Rs 100 crore,” an agency official told The Telegraph.

“Firms owned by Modi and Choksi had inflated the value of the jewellery in their account books, leading us to make a mistake by announcing their worth in a hurry without consulting independent valuators. The market reality came as a huge shock.”

He said the bank accounts of Nirav and Choksi in Singapore and their assets attached in Britain and America would remain frozen till the case had been disposed of.

Agency sources said they had issued five provisional orders, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, for attachment of the assets in London and New York, bank balances in Singapore and other countries, a flat in Mumbai and diamond-studded jewellery in Singapore, PTI reported.

Directorate officials said the investigators had got multiple courts to issue letters rogatory (judicial requests) for legal formalisation of these assets and the action had come to fruition after three months of “close coordination” between the directorate and its foreign counterparts.