Mehul Choksi's property worth Rs 24.77 crore attached by ED in PNB fraud case

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 11 July 2019, 06:32 PM
Absconding diamond merchant Mehul Choksi (File Photo)
Absconding diamond merchant Mehul Choksi (File Photo)

In yet another major development in the PNB fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday provisionally attached absconding diamond merchant Mehul Choksi's properties worth Rs 24.77 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

"Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached immovable properties, valuables, vehicle, bank account having total value of Rs. 24.77 crore of accused Mehul Choksi under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in Punjab National Bank Fraud Case," the news agency ANI reported.

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Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, fled India in the first week of January, 2018, days before a scam worth Rs 13,400 crore was detected and reported by state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB). The 60-year-old businessman and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI for allegedly masterminding the biggest banking fraud of India.

Choksi, currently based in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, allegedly swindled Rs 7,080.86 crore while remaining was siphoned off by his nephew Modi making it possibly the biggest banking scam in the country.

They managed to orchestrate the scam by availing credit from overseas branches of Indian banks on the basis of fraudulent guarantees in the form of Letter of Undertakings and letters of credit issued by PNB Brady House branch in Mumbai.

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The LoU instructions were issued by colluding bank employees using an international banking messaging system but these were not entered in the internal PNB system making them impossible to be monitored.

An LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant. The non repayment of these credits brought the liability on the PNB.

First Published: Thursday, July 11, 2019 05:57 PM
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