PNB scam: ED asks MEA to revoke passports of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:The Enforcement Directorate has sought revocation of passports of billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his close associate Mehul Choksi for allegedly masterminding India’s biggest-ever banking fraud.

The development came after the Punjab National Bank had on Wednesday detected fraudulent transactions of Rs 11,500 in one of its Mumbai branches and has filed a complained against Nirav and others.

The ED has registered a money laundering case against Nirav, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi, following the complaint by the PNB.

The ED has written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking cancellation of the passports of the accused.

Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, had fled the country on January 1. Modi’s wife Ami, a US citizen, and business partner Mehul Choksi departed on January 6.

A look out circular has also been issued by enforcement agencies to all exit and entry ports to inform them about the movement of the accused.

Nirav Modi case: How PNB was defrauded of Rs 11,400 crore

Punjab National Bank had rocked the financial world on Wednesday with the revelation that it had detected “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” worth 11,500 crore at one of its branches in Mumbai.

The fraudulent transactions are reportedly linked to billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi, against whom the bank had filed a complaint with the CBI last month.

Nirav Modi was initially charged last month with causing a wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to PNB in 2017 after hatching a conspiracy with two bank officials to defraud the bank.

The other partners who were allegedly involved in fraudulent transactions were Nirav’s wife Ami, brother Neeshal and maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, who owns Gitanjali Gems.

On Wednesday, PNB filed two more complaints against Modi after it realised that the fraud could involve at least Rs 11,500 crore of its money.

The estimated scale of the fraud of Rs 11,500 crore is more than eight times PNB’s net profit of Rs 1,325 crore in the financial year ended March 2017. The crisis could impact the bank’s profitability this year.

Nirav had left India on January 1, and is believed to be in Switzerland. Nirav’s wife Ami, a US citizen, and business partner Mehul Choksi departed on January 6.

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