ED attaches Rs 1,217cr assets of Choksi; examines PNB MD
Mumbai/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it had attached 41 properties, valued at over Rs 1,200 crore, in connection with its money laundering probe in the PNB scam against Gitanjali Gems and its promoter Mehul Choksi.
It also examined Punjab National Bank's Managing Director and CEO Sunil Mehta at its zonal office in Mumbai on Thursday.
The ED had early this week examined state-owned bank's Executive Director K V Brahmaji Rao to understand how the alleged fraud was detected and other banking procedures.
The central probe agency issued a provisional order for attachment of assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The attached assets include 15 flats and 17 office premises in Mumbai, a mall in Kolkata, a four-acre farmhouse in Alibaug and 231-acres of land at locations like Nashik, Nagpur, Panvel and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu.
A 170-acre park in Hyderabad's Ranga Reddy district valued at over Rs 500 crore has also been attached, it said.
Four flats in Borivali (east) area of the Maharashtra capital and nine others in Kheni Tower in Santacruz (east) have also been attached as part of the action.
"The total value of the 41 assets attached on Thursday, which are controlled by Choksi, is estimated at Rs 1,217.2 crore," the ED said.
The individuals and companies, the agency order said, who own these assets include Mehul Choksi, Rohan Parth, Gitanjali Exports Corporation, Gitanjali Gems Limited, Decent Securities and Finance Pvt Ltd, N&J Finstock Pvt Ltd and Rohan Mercantile Pvt Ltd among others.
The agency, last week, had similarly attached 21 immovable assets worth Rs 523.72 crore of diamond jewellery businessman Nirav Modi and his group.
As part of the agency's PMLA probe against the two, the ED said it has till now has conducted 198 searches across the country leading to the "seizure" of gold, diamond, platinum, silver, precious and semi-precious stones, jewellery and watches of "stock value" of more than Rs 5,100 crore.
The agency had said it is "independently valuing" these assets.
The agency earlier also seized shares and mutual funds to the tune of Rs 124 crore belonging to Modi and Choksi and companies controlled by them.
Also, it said, bank accounts with deposit balance of Rs 38.7 crore have been frozen, and thirteen luxury cars belonging to Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and Choksi have also been seized.
Meanwhile, potential buyers have expressed strong early interest in Firestar Diamond Inc -a bankrupt US firm of Nirav Modi.