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PNB scam: ED files chargesheet against Nirav Modi, associates

New Delhi [India], May 24 :
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a prosecution complaint against absconding jeweller baron Nirav Modi and his associates.

According to the officials, the 12,000-page ED charge sheet, or the prosecution complaint, has been filed before a special Mumbai court here under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA).

The criminal complaint has been filed against Nirav, his associates and businesses and the entire gamut of issuance of fake Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) by Punjab National Bank (PNB) to his firms in alleged connivance of bank officials.

The ED on Monday attached bank accounts, properties and other beneficiaries worth Rs. 171.26 crore owned by absconding jewellery designer Nirav Modi under the PMLA.

On February 24 this year, the ED had provisionally attached 21 immovable properties belonging to Nirav and companies controlled by him under the PMLA, with the current market value of Rs. 523.72 crore.

The said properties include six residential flats and ten office premises in Mumbai, two residential flats in Pune, one farmhouse in Alibaug, one solar power plant and 135 acres land in Karjat and Ahmednagar, all in Maharashtra.

Earlier, the ED had registered a money laundering case against Modi this year under the provisions of the PMLA, 2002 on the basis of the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under sections 120-B read with 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

It was stated in the FIR that Nirav Modi and others had committed the offence of cheating against Punjab National Bank (PNB) in connivance with certain bank officials by fraudulently getting the Letters of Undertaking (LOUs) issued in their three firms without putting any security and without following the prescribed procedure, thus causing losses to PNB.

On a similar modus operandi, the CBI registered another FIR on February 15 this year against Nirav's uncle cum business partner Mehul Choksi and others, based on which another case was registered against Choksi under the provisions of the PMLA, 2002.

For those unversed, the PNB detected the multi-crore scam, wherein Nirav and Choksi had allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of Rs. 114 billion, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

Currently, the probe agencies are investigating the matter and have also seized many properties of Modi and Choksi.

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