Billionaire diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, prime accused in Punjab National Bank’s Rs 11,400 crore scam, have expressed inability to appear before Enforcement Directorate (ED) citing suspended passports as the main reason, The Indian Express reported. In view of this, ED is planning to move court to obtain non bailable warrants (NBWs) against the accused, The Indian Express reported. The two accused have failed to appear before the ED for investigation under under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)even after three summons being issued to them by the agency. Mehul Choksi’s has received a ED summon but he is unable to travel since his passport has been suspended by the agency, Sanjay Abbot, Mehul Choksi’s lawyer told The Indian Express.
In the ongoing investigation against Nirav Modi, PMLA court has allowed the ED’s application that sought Letters Rogatory to 6 countries, The Indian Express reported. The investigating agency claims that Nirav Modi’s business has runs in various nations which include Hong Kong, United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Singapore, The Indian Express reported. The PNB shares were trading at Rs 103.95 down by nearly 7 percent on NSE at the time of reporting.
The country’s second-largest public lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) on 14 February had informed the stock exchanges that billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his firms in connivance with a few bank officials duped it of Rs 11,400 crore in form of fake Letters of Undertaking (LoUs). The bank later registered a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that the fraud occurred in its Brady House House branch at Mumbai. Thereafter, CBI and ED began an investigation and raided various places associated with Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. The ED also requested the Ministry of External Affairs to revoke passports of both the prime accused. However, when ED summoned them to appear before it under PMLA, the two cited their revoked passports as reason for their inability to honour the summons. CBI and ED has been conducting a thorough investigation in the matter since the day case has been handed over to them.