The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent Letters Rogatory (LRs) to seven more countries, in connection with the Rs 13,578 crore Punjab National Bank fraud involving rogue jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. These seven countries are in addition to the six countries where the LRs were sent earlier. "After the agency got the information that Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have businesses and properties in these seven countries, the decision was taken to send LRs," a senior ED official told Mail Today.
Earlier, the agency, investigating the PNB scam, had issued LRs to Hong Kong, USA, UK, UAE, South Africa and Singapore for obtaining information about Nirav Modi's overseas businesses and assets. "It is an application for issuance of LR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for recovery/seizure of proceeds of crime and collection of documents, evidence lying in Hong Kong, USA, UK, UAE, South Africa and Singapore, which are required in connection with the investigation," ED had then said in its plea before the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court.
A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance in an ongoing investigation to seek evidence. To tighten the noose around Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, ED also contacted Interpol to initiate the process of issuing red-corner notices (RCNs) against both the fugitive diamond merchants. According to sources, ED has requested the Interpol to issue RCNs against Modi and Choksi.
The notices are likely to be issued in the next 10 days. A red-corner notice is a highpriority request to provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition.
However, a member country may decide not to make the arrest. Sources in the Enforcement Directorate have said that the Ministry of External Affairs has cleared the RCN request and most likely it has reached the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France. ED has issued a non-bailable warrant thus setting in motion the process of bringing back to India the fugitive diamond merchants.
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