Even as the investigation agencies spread their web to catch hold of Nirav Modi, they have been successful in getting two bank accounts of the diamantaire frozen in Belgium which could have been used by him. "Based on a request by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Belgian authorities have frozen two bank accounts of Nirav Modi companies," government sources told MAIL TODAY.
The bank accounts could have been possibly used by Modi to manage the huge funds lying with him from the alleged bank fraud of Rs 12,684.92 crore which has, so far, been traced by the CBI, ED and income tax authorities. Sources said the accounts in Belgium had significant amount of money and the freezing of these accounts will help the government's case in recovering the funds allegedly taken away by him from public sector Punjab National Bank. Sources in the government said the investigating agencies have been able to freeze assets worth over Rs 7,670 crore in the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi case which includes valuables worth over Rs 5,734 crore.
The ED itself has carried out searches inover 255 premises across the country and Rs 71 crore in his bank accounts has also been frozen. "Shares of Gitanjali Gems Limited worth Rs 101 crore and investments by Nirav Modi worth Rs 23 crores have also been frozen," they said. Government sources said the Ministry of External Affairs is also working hard to get Modi and Letter Rogatory has been sent to seven countries including the US, UK, Singapore, UAE, South Africa, Belgium and Hong Kong.
The ED has also recently approached the Interpol to locate Modi, who is an accused in multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, and his family. According to the sources, the agency had sent the request to the Interpol last week aimed at tracing and arresting Modi who went underground, days before the PNB fraud was unearthed.
Modi, along with his family, is believed to have left the country in January first week, weeks before the scam was reported to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating criminal misconduct in the case. The request sent to Interpol is part of money trail probe by the ED and the CBI after several cases of financial misconduct were registered against Modi and Choksi - the promoter of Gitanjali Group - in connection with the PNB scam.
In several complaints to the CBI, the PNB has claimed that several Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) were fraudulently issued by its officials in connivance with Modi and the other accused in the case causing it a huge loss. An LoU is a letter of comfort issued by one bank to branches of other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers.
ED recently also arrested Modi's Firestar Group vice-president Shyam Sunder Wadhwa and it has so far carried out searches at 251 properties across the country and seized diamonds, gold, pearls and precious and semi-precious stones. The ED has also claimed to have attached immovable properties belonging to their business groups to the tune of Rs 7,638 crore.
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