The Enforcement Directorate today stated it has attached a factory in Thailand worth over Rs. 13 crores of a Gitanjali group company, owned by absconding diamond jeweler Mehul Choksi, in connection with the alleged USD 2 billion PNB fraud case.
The agency said it has published a provisional order for attachment, under the PMLA, of the factory premise owned by Abbeycrest (Thailand) Limited which is a “group company” of the Gitanjali group of companies.
“Investigations under PMLA revealed that Abbeycrest (Thailand) Limited is the beneficiary of the LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) issued fraudulently and unauthorisedly from the PNB to the tune of Rs. 92.3 crore. During the probe, this overseas property has been identified and after gathering concrete evidence of ownership it has been attached,” the Enforcement Directorate stated in a statement.
The sum of the property is Rs. 13.14 crore, it added. The Enforcement Directorate is probing this case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Officials said Enforcement Directorate investigators will soon get published Letters Rogatories (judicial requests) for the legal formalization of the attachment of the foreign-based asset.
Mehul Choksi, his nephew and diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, and others are being probed under several criminal laws after the fraud came to light, following a complaint from the Punjab National Bank (PNB) that they allegedly cheated the nationalized bank to the tune of over Rs. 13,000 crores, with the purported involvement of some of its employees.
Both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are absconding since the case was registered by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Mehul Choksi was last reported to be in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
“With this attachment, the value of attachment/seizure in the PNB scam is to the tune of Rs. 4,765 crore (approximately). Further investigation is in the process,” the Enforcement Directorate stated.