The passports of diamantaire Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi, the main accused in the Rs 11,400-crore PNB scam, have been revoked, external affairs ministry sources said today.
On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the ministry had suspended the validity of their passports with immediate effect for a period of four weeks on February 16 and given one week's time to them to respond as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked.
"Since they have not responded so far, their passports have been revoked," a senior ministry source said, noting that in its notice to Modi and Choksi, the ministry had made it clear that their passports would be cancelled if they failed to respond.
Ministry sources said that future course of action will be taken on the advice of the investigation agencies.
Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after the fraud came to light recently following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank. The complaint alleged that they cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before the criminal cases were lodged against them.
Properties of Nirav Modi attached
Meanwhile, Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached 21 properties belonging to Nirav Modi, including a penthouse, a farmhouse, and a solar plant, and his group worth over Rs. 523 crore.
"21 immovable properties of Nirav Modi and companies controlled by him, with a market value of Rs. 523.72 crore, have been provisionally attached. These include 6 residential properties, ten office premises, 2 flats in Pune, a solar power plant, a farmhouse in Alibaug and 135 acres of land in Karjat in Ahmednagar district," the agency said.
With the latest action, the total assets seized by the ED in this case are now over Rs. 6,393 crore, officials claimed. They added that this value has been quoted from independent sources.