PNB fraud: ED reaches out to 13 countries for information of assets owned by Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly got in touch with authorities in 13 countries for information on the businesses and assets owned by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both wanted in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.

Seeking judicial assistance, the ED has sent letters of request to Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Belgium, the United States, Russia, France, China, and Hong Kong among others where Modi and Choksi are believed to have business interests, The Economic Times reported.

“The objective is to collect evidence against Modi and Choksi, and information about all the foreign assets illegally obtained by them,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

PNB fraud: ED reaches out to 13 countries for information of assets owned by Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Facebook and Youtube screengrab.

The ED is expected to file its first chargesheet against Modi and Choksi by the end of this month.

“The chargesheet will help the agency expedite the extradition process against Nirav Modi, who is believed to be hiding in Hong Kong. Besides, it will also help the agency to initiate the proceedings to attach overseas properties of Modi and Choksi,” sources aware of the development told The Asian Age on Sunday.

In March, the ED had approached Interpol to locate diamantaire Modi and his family. According to sources, the agency sent the request to the Interpol aimed to locate and arrest Modi who left the country along with his family in the first week of January, days before the scam was reported to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating criminal misconduct in the case.

The CBI in February also approached the Interpol with a request of issuing a Diffusion Notice against Modi to locate him. The diffusion notice is a request for cooperation or alert mechanism, less formal than an actual Notice but is also used to request the arrest or location of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation.

The ED is analysing 120 shell companies in connection with the PNB fraud.

Meanwhile, on Monday, media reports mentioned the Income Tax Department is also planning to initiate legal action against Modi under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

Under the black money law, the government can approach another country or territory with which it has an agreement to seek recovery of tax under section 73 of the Act.

The Act ensures imprisonment of up to seven years for not disclosing foreign assets.

Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, along with his group companies - Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports - and others have been implicated in the Rs 13,500 crore scam which was admitted by the PNB in February, leading to a massive upheaval in the country's banking system.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2018 12:09:24 IST

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