The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today said it has seized over 34,000 pieces of jewellery worth Rs 85 crore from the Gitanjali Group, owned by diamantaire Mehul Choksi, in connection with the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. The agency said the jewellery was “brought from Dubai” and has been seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “ED seizes over 34,000 pieces of jewellery worth Rs 85 crore under PMLA of Mehul Choksi controlled Gitanjali Group brought from Dubai,” it said in a statement.
Choksi, along with his nephew and millionaire designer jeweller Nirav Modi, is being investigated by the ED for allegedly defrauding PNB, the country’s second largest lender. Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by the ED as well as other probe agencies after the fraud came to light this year following a complaint by the PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two first information reports (FIRs) each in the case. The CBI has this week filed two charge sheets in the case before a Mumbai court while the ED is expected to file its own prosecution complaint soon. The ED complaint or charge sheet will focus on the money laundering aspect and the role played by the two and others in perpetrating the alleged fraud. Both Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them.