PNB fraud case: Gitanjali Gems files petition in Delhi HC against ED searches; hearing today
The ED had issued a provisional order for attachment under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Mehul Choksi's firm Gitanjali Gems has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with money laundering. The matter will be heard today, an ANI report said. Choksi is the uncle and mentor of designer diamond jewellery businessman, Nirav Modi and promoter of Gitanjali Gems. Choksi and Modi are being investigated by the ED, CBI and other probe agencies in the PNB fraud case.
The ED had issued a provisional order for attachment under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED is investigating if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
Earlier, the ED attached 41 properties, valued at over Rs1,200 crore, in connection with its money laundering probe in the PNB scam against Gitanjali Gems and Choksi. The agency had attached 21 immovable assets worth Rs 523.72 crore of diamond jewellery businessman Nirav Modi and his group.
The attached assets include 15 flats and 17 office premises in Mumbai, a mall in Kolkata, a four-acre farm house in Alibaug and 231-acres of land at locations like Nashik, Nagpur, Panvel and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. A 170-acre park in Hyderabad’s Ranga Reddy district valued at over Rs 500 crore has also been attached, it said. Four flats in Borivali (east) area of the Maharashtra capital and nine others in Kheni Tower in Santacruz (east) have also been attached as part of the action.
“The total value of the 41 assets attached today, which are controlled by Choksi, is estimated at Rs 1,217.2 crore,” the ED said.
As part of the agency’s PMLA probe against the two, the ED said it has till now has conducted 198 searches across the country leading to the “seizure” of gold, diamond, platinum, silver, precious and semi-precious stones, jewellery and watches of “stock value” of more than Rs 5,100 crore. The agency had said it is “independently valuing” these assets.
The agency earlier also seized shares and mutual funds to the tune of Rs 124 crore belonging to Modi and Choksi and companies controlled by them. Also, it said, bank accounts with deposit balance of Rs 38.7 crore have been frozen and thirteen luxury cars belonging to Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and Choksi have also been seized.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi and others are being investigated by the ED, CBI and other probe agencies after the bank fraud recently came to light, following a complaint by the PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 12,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Choksi and Modi are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them. They have, however, denied any wrongdoing.
The ED, a central probe agency under the union finance ministry, is investigating if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
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In April this year, the ED had provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 11.15 crore belonging to Raut's wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of its investigation