Mumbai: The ED on Wednesday approached a special court here seeking its order to declare diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi -- both accused in over Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case -- as fugitives because they fled from India a month before they were named in the multi-crore fraudulent case.
The Enforcement Directorate filed two separate applications requesting the designated court to issue notices to Nirav Modi and Choksi under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 to declare them fugitives, an ED statement said.
The agency also requested the court to issue an order to confiscate the movable and immovable properties of the two accused which are believed to be the proceeds of crime. It also urged the court to permit it to confiscate other properties of Nirav Modi and Choksi which are directly and indirectly belong to them and have been identified by the agency officials in India, in Britain and in United Arab Emirates.
The ED has been probing two cases of money laundering against Nirav Modi, Choksi and others under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the prime investigating agency of the case.
Investigations have revealed that Nirav Modi and Choksi have committed the offence of cheating against Mumbai-based Brady House branch of PNB in connivance of certain bank officials in fraudulently getting the Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit issued without following prescribed procedure and cause wrongful loss to the bank.
The accused persons have further siphoned off the proceeds of the crime so generated through the multiple dummy entities in India and abroad, said the statement.
"During the course of investigation, more than 260 searches had been conducted all across India leading to the seizure of gold, diamond, platinum, silver, precious, semi precious stones, jewellery and watches belonging to Nirav Modi and Choksi and the companies controlled by them. Further, bank accounts and shares belonging to Nirav Modi and Choksi and their controlled companies were also frozen by the ED.
"Luxury cars and paintings of the two fugitives have also been seized by the ED," it said.
Further an attachment orders of movable and immovable properties were also issued against the two fugitives and their companies, said the statement.
All the movable and immovable properties seized, freezed or attached by the ED are the part of the list of properties submitted to the special PMLA court for the order of confiscation under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, it said.
In these cases, the ED had on May 24 and May 26 filed prosecution complaints or charge sheets under PMLA against Nirav Modi and Choksi. The court has taken cognisance of the charge sheets and issued non-bailable warrant against Nirav Modi and Choksi. On the request of ED and the CBI, the Interpol has also issued Red Corder Notice against Nirav Modi.