India’s law enforcement and economic intelligence agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday (6) said that it had attached 11 properties in Dubai valued at Rs 560 million (£5.87m) of Indian celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi in connection with £1.53 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
ED has said that the properties were in the name of “Modi and his group company M/s Firestar Diamond FZE and they bear a market value of $7.79 million…”. The federal investigation agency has issued a provisional order for the attachment of these assets under India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In October 2018, ED had attached the properties worth Rs 6.37 bn of Modi and his family members. The properties were included two apartments in New York’s iconic Central Park.
According to the sources at ED, the probe agency would soon obtain judicial requests issued by a Mumbai court for the legal formalisation of the attachment of these assets in coordination with its counterpart in Dubai.
Once, judicial requests were issued, India could freeze the properties of the accused as part of the international legal co-operation in criminal matters.
The accused, Modi is absconding early this year. An Interpol arrest warrant recently issued against him even as India is trying its best to get him extradited from the UK, where he was last seen.
Indian investigators have attached properties worth over Rs 7bn of Modi and his family in India till today. ED has also registered a charge sheet against Modi which alleged that he laundered and diverted over Rs 64bn of bank funds to fake companies in foreign countries which were under his and his family’s control.
Modi, his close relative Mehul Choksi and others are being investigated under various financial criminal laws, after a complaint by the PNB officers. They allegedly cheated the state-owned bank to the tune of over Rs 130bn with the intended involvement of some of its staff members.
Meanwhile, an executive of a company linked to fugitive Mehul Choksi was detained from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport in Kolkata by ED officials under the PMLA, according to the officials on Tuesday.
Deepak Kulkarni was arrested Monday (5) night in connection with PNB fraud case when he arrived at Kolkata from Hong Kong, ED officers said.