Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Friday, registered another case against billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.
Both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have been summoned by the ED to appear before its Mumbai office on February 23, reports news agency ANI.
ED sources told ANI that the agency has raided 35 new locations covering 11 states and seized diamond and gold worth Rs 549 crore on Friday.
A total of 5,649 crores (including Thursday’s recovery), 29 immovable properties were identified, ED sources told ANI.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday suspended the passports of diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi after the advice of ED.
Addressing the media on Friday, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Nirav Modi's passport has been suspended and he can't go anywhere from the place he is right now.
"Woh jis country mein hain wahi rahenge, passport suspend hone ke baad woh kahi nahi ja sakte," the MEA spokesperson said.
Raveesh Kumar said that Nirav Modi was not a part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi delegation to Davos. He added, “the 'picture' that's being circulated was part of an informal session with CEOs who register for the event on their own, it was an impromptu picture."
The passports have been suspended for a period of four weeks. Both Nirav and Mehul have been asked to respond within a week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under the Passports Act 1967.
The investigation agencies, banks, and now Interpol (International Criminal Police Organisation) - all agencies and institutions have tightened the noose around billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi, who's is being raided for the Rs 11,400-crore 'fraud' detected at Punjab National Bank's (PNB) Mumbai branch.
The first complaint against Nirav Modi's company was filed on January 29, but he and his family had already fled the country on January 1.
The 'fraud' is now out in the open, the PNB has sacked 18 of its employees, and the government has promised not to "spare anyone".
ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have raided several properties of Nirav Modi and his alleged accomplices, including his family members and business partner Mehul Choksi, the owner of diamond jewellery brand Gitanjali Gems, and have sealed diamond, gold, jewellery, and precious stones worth over Rs 5,100 crore.
Though Nirav Modi has reportedly assured the PNB authorities to repay the entire money, he has been asked to come up with a concrete plan.
Talking about the fraud, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said this is a fraud that happened during the UPA government.
"This came to light when we decided to revive the entire banking system, after which this entire scam came to light. So, it's UPA's scam that has been brought to light by the BJP government," Javadekar said.
The minister added, “The entire banking system had happened during the UPA. The scam remained under the carpet between 2011 and 2014, and it came to light after the NDA government tightened the banking norms.”
Javadekar said that this is the 'banking fraud' not the 'government fraud'. “We, on the other hand, allowed all the enforcement agencies to speed-up the investigation. We have also confiscated his properties worth over Rs 5,100 crore,” the minister added.
According to ANI, former Allahabad Bank Director Dinesh Dubey says he had sent a dissent note against providing a loan to Gitanjali Gems to the government and the RBI in 2013 but to no avail.
Congress also did not remain quiet on the issue and the party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Friday said, “Under the Modi government's new scheme 'Udaan', every scamster can fly undetected.”
Congress President Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over tainted businessmen fleeing the country.
With inputs from agencies....