New Delhi, Feb 15: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday seized assets worth approx Rs 5,100 crore in raids conducted across the country in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank money-laundering case. The ED conducted raids at offices, showrooms of celebrity diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is accused of swindling Rs 11,000 crore, across Mumbai, New Delhi and Surat.
The premises raided by the ED in Mumbai include Modi’s residence in Kurla, his jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company locations in Bandra and Lower Parel, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.
According to reports, stock of gold, diamond and precious stones worth Rs 5,100 crore was seized by the central agency. Apart from this, bank accounts and fixed deposits totalling Rs 3.9 crore were also freezed.
The ED had filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR registered early this month.
It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.
The agency, they said, would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
The CBI had booked Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017.
The CBI had received two fresh complaints from PNB on Wednesday (February 17) allegedly against Modi and a jewellery company alleging fraudulent transactions worth about Rs 11,400 crore.
Political War Erupts
As the ED went on seizing Nirav Modi’s assets, a political blamegame erupted over the fraud case with both the Opposition Congress and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trading charges against each other.
First it was the Congress which accused the Modi government of doing nothing to prevent Nirav Modi from sneaking out of the country or initiating action him. (Also Read: Hug PM Modi, Attend Event With Him is Nirav Modi’s Guide to Loot India, Says Rahul Gandhi)
“The Congress demands accountability, responsibility and recovery of the money and answers on who had protected another ‘chhota’ Modi and helped him flee the country,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
Taking strong exception to word ‘chhota Modi, the BJP lashed out at the Congress for demeaning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“What is this word ‘chhota Modi’? BJP takes strong offence to the kind of language being used by describing someone like that. It is derogatory, scandalous and demeaning,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. (Also Read: Nirav Modi PNB Fraud: PMO Was Alerted, Failed to Take Action, Alleges Congress)
The minister further clarified that PM Modi did not meet Nirav Modi at Davos nor part of Indian contingent at the event World Economic Forum. “He (Nirav) was part of the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) delegation,” he added.
(With Agency Inputs)