The government has revoked passports of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi for the PNB fraud
The government has cancelled passports of celebrity diamond designer Nirav Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi who accused of a staggering bank fraud. The orders to revoke the passports were issued by the Foreign Ministry amid a massive crackdown on companies linked to the billionaire businessman by half-a-dozen central agencies investigating Nirav Modi and his uncle
. On Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate said 21 properties including a 5,000 square feet luxury penthouse in south Mumbai's
upscale Worli locality and a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city had been seized.
Here are the 10 updates on this story:
- The market price of residential and commercial properties that include a solar plant linked to Nirav Modi and his firms seized by the ED has been put at over 523 crores. This, according to the ED's valuation of assets, takes the total value of the jewellery, gold, silver, diamonds and other assets in excess of 6,300 crores. The agency has also recovered nearly 10,000 imported watches stacked in 176 steel almirahs, 158 boxes and 60 plastic containers.
- Nirav Modi allegedly worked with bank officials to illegally obtain Letters of Undertaking, which were cashed overseas from different banks. The diamantaire and his family left the country in the first week of January. The government's decision to cancel Nirav Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi passport is an attempt to force them to return.
- The CBI this week arrested PNB officials including Rajesh Jindal, the former head of the bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai which was the epicentre of the fraud. On Saturday, the CBI started questioning PNB managing director Sunil Mehta and an executive director in this case, according to news agency PTI.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have promised to go after people who embezzle public funds with the full might of the state. Without taking any names, both leaders have also hit at sloppy bank managements and the banking sector regulator.
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the question of who did what in the bank fraud scams will be probed. The government-funded bank had earlier sought to put the entire blame for the fraud at branch-level officials.
- The finance minister said periodic surfacing of bank frauds push to background the reforms and entire effort of making it easier to do business in India while the scars on the economy take front seat.
- The strong statements from the government come against a backdrop of spike in reports of bank fraud. Apart from the 3,700 crores Rotomac loan fraud that it was investigating, the CBI this week registered cases against a jeweller, a businessman and a public servant on complaints by three different banks this week, an official said on Saturday.
- A Delhi-based diamond jewellery exporting Dwarka Das Seth International has been accused of a 390 crores fraud by the Oriental Bank of Commerce. The state-run bank, which had approached the CBI in August last year, said its owner Sabhya Seth had shut shop and fled the country.
- Sabya Seth has been accused of round-tripping funds through fake companies abroad and utilised funds by discounting bills based on the letters of credit of either non-existent foreign banks or those with negative ratings.
- Congress president Rahul Gandhi cited Sabya Seth's fraud case to renew his attack on PM Modi. "Under Modiji's 'Jan-Dhan Loot Yojana', another scam! 390 crore, involving a Delhi-based jeweller. Same Modus operandi as Nirav Modi. Fake LOUs," Mr Gandhi tweeted. "Predictably, like Mallya and Nirav, this promoter too has disappeared while the Govt looked the other way," he added.
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