New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday attached assets worth over Rs 218 crore in the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud – which include belongings of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, Mihir Bhansali, a close aide of main accused in the case Nirav Modi, and a company named AP Gems and Jewellery Park.
According to officials, three provisional orders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were issued by the central investigative agency’s zonal office in Mumbai for attachment of the properties in India and abroad.
The ED is probing this case along with the CBI where it is alleged that Nirav Modi and Choksi defrauded the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Mumbai to the tune of about $2 billion (over Rs 130 billion) in alleged connivance with officials.
While Choksi has been last reported to be in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, the Interpol (global police) has recently issued a red corner notice against Bhansali in this case.
Mehul Choksi had last month spoken on camera for the first time since the scam came to light. “All allegations against me are false and baseless,” he had said.
“The Enforcement Directorate has attached my properties illegally without any basis,” Mehul Choksi said from Antigua, where he has been living amid efforts in India to bring him back.
In October 2018, ED had also attached Nirav Modi and his family’s assets worth Rs 637 crore in India and four other countries.