New Delhi: The ministry of external affairs on Saturday announced that the passports of diamantaire Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who is the owner of Gitanjali Gems, have been revoked, in connection with the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank scam. The validity of the passports had been suspended with immediate affect for a period of four weeks on February 16 by the ministry on the advice of the Enforcement Directorate. Following this, the two businessmen were given one week’s time to respond as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked, PTI reported.
A senior ministry source told the news agency that since the two did not respond to the notices, the ministry has decided to revoke their passports. The source added that in its to notice to Choksi and Nirav Modi, the ministry had stressed that their passports would be canceled if they did not respond on time, PTI reported.
Ministry sources said that future course of action will be taken on the advice of the investigation agencies.
Nirav Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after the fraud came to light recently following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank. The complaint alleged that they cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choksi are said to have left the country before the criminal cases were lodged against them.
Meanwhile, The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday attached 21 properties, including a penthouse and a farmhouse, of Nirav Modi and his group worth over Rs 523 crore in fresh action against the beleaguered jeweller in the alleged Rs 11,400 crore fraud in the PNB.
The central probe agency said it has issued a provisional order for attachment of the assets, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and seized a Rs 81.16 crore valued penthouse (created by joining three flats) and a flat worth Rs 15.45 crore in the sea-facing Samudra Mahal apartments in the Worli area of Mumbai.
With the latest action, the total assets seized by the ED in this case are now over Rs 6,393 crore, officials claimed, adding that this was being independently valued.
The agency has also summoned Modi, Ami and Modi’s uncle and Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi for questioning in the case on February 26.
(With PTI inputs)