(Image source from: Free Press Journal)
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has attached Indian and international assets worth Rs 218 crore belonging to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
Both Nirav and Choksi are alleged to have defrauded Punjab National Bank (PNB) of more than Rs 11,400 crore or $2 billion, that was exposed earlier this year.
A villa worth Rs 27 crore in a foreign location and a property in Hyderabad worth Rs 120 crore are among the assets seized, according to ED officials.
With these seizures, the total worth of properties or assets that the ED has attached is close to Rs 4488 crore.
Among the assets that the ED seized as well includes diamonds worth Rs 18.76 crore belonging to Firestar Diamonds, which is owned by Modi.
An apartment in Mumbai's Trump Towers worth Rs 1.70 crore and in the name of Choksi's daughter too has been seized.
The agency has likewise seized an apartment worth Rs 51 crore in a foreign location belonging Nirav's close aide Mihir Bhansali. Bhansali too is untraceable.
The agency has sent Letters Rogatory to countries where properties have been seized to implement the provisional attachment orders.
All the accused in the PNB scam - Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi, his brother Neeshal, sister Purvi, and Mihir Bhansali are untraceable and are under investigation by Indian agencies.
On May 24 and 26, the ED had filed a charge sheet against Modi and Choksi and issued non-bailable warrants against them.
The Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against all the accused including Aditya Nanvati and Bhansali.
While Purvi and Neeshal are Belgian citizens, Choksi has acquired Antiguan citizenship. Modi is believed to be in the United Kingdom.
Earlier this month, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 637 crore in five countries.