Mumbai/New Delhi: Widening its probe into the Punjab National Bank fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate will soon send judicial requests to over a dozen countries for getting information about the overseas businesses and assets of celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi.
Official sources said the agency will approach a court in Mumbai with a request for Letters Rogatories (LRs) to be sent to 17 countries where the central investigation agency has traced the footsteps of the diamond and gold jewellery businesses of the firms owned by Mr Modi, his uncle Mr Choksi and others associated with them.
The countries where the LRs would be sent include Belgium, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Singapore and South Africa. Some official requests on the basis of agency-to-agency exchange will also be sent to few countries, the sources said.
The attempt of sending these judicial requests for exchange of information is aimed at obtaining the details of the overseas financial holdings of Mr Modi and Mr Choksi, who are accused in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB loan fraud case, their bank accounts, assets, partnerships, showrooms, trusts and other assets, sources said.
These assets and their sources of income will be investigated and would be attached under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if it is found that they have been created using tainted funds or the proceeds of crime of the alleged bank fraud, the sources said.
Mr Modi, his wife Ami, and Mr Choksi have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear at its zonal office in Mumbai tomorrow.
Sources said that if they skipped the summons, the agency may approach a special PMLA court to get warrants without bail against them.
The agency has also asked about 16 other banks, apart from Punjab National Bank, to share with it the details of loans given and collaterals offered in the case of Mr Modi, Mr Choksi and their companies.
It has also asked the Reserve Bank of India to share audit reports of PNB conducted by it since 2011. The total assets seized by the ED in this case are now over Rs 6,393 crore, officials had said, adding that this was being independently valued.
Mr Modi, Mr Choksi and others are being investigated by the ED and other probe agencies after the fraud recently came to light, following a complaint by PNB that they allegedly cheated the state-run bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.