New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that it has brought back as many as 108 entities belonging to fugitive diamantaires Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi including polished diamonds, pearls, and silver jewellery worth Rs 1,350 crore of declared value from Hong Kong.
As per reports, the agency successfully recovered 2,340 kg of polished diamonds, pearls and silver jewellery valued which was owned by firms of Modi and Choksi. ED also stated that the valuables were brought back from Hong Kong to Mumbai in 108 consignments.
Out of the 108 consignments, 32 had valuables belonging to entities controlled by Modi and the remaining 76 controlled by Choksi. “Valuation and seizure formalities are in progress,” the ED stated.
Both Modi and Choksi are being probed by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with an over USD 2 billion alleged bank fraud at a Punjab National Bank (PNB) branch in Mumbai.
The ED completed ‘all legal formalities’ with authorities in Hong Kong to bring back these valuables, the agency said. The main accused in the PNB scam worth Rs 23,780 crore Modi is currently lodged in a United Kingdom jail since March 2019.
Indian authorities are attempting to extradite both the businessmen. Modi’s uncle Choksi, who is also an accused in the PNB scam, is currently living in Antigua.
In first such order passed under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA), a special court in Mumbai on June 8 allowed attachment and confiscation of assets owned by Modi. The court, in its order, said the assets shall be attached by the ED under the provisions of the FEO Act within one month.
The 49-year-old businessman was declared a fugitive economic offender in December last by the court. He was arrested in London in March 2019 and is presently fighting extradition to India, where he faces charges of fraud and money laundering.
ED had registered two cases of money laundering against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, also a jeweller and another accused in the scam, on the basis of an FIR lodged against them by the CBI in January last year.
The CBI had alleged that the duo had cheated PNB in connivance with certain bank officials by fraudulently getting Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued to their three firms without any collateral and without following the prescribed procedure, and caused wrongful loss to the bank.