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MUMBAI: The enforcement directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his relatives along with others and raided over dozen premises across the country connected to them on Thursday in connection of Rs 11,300 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.
The premises raided by the ED here include Modi’s residence in Kurla, his jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company locations in Bandra and Lower Parel, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi.
ED officials stated that the search operation will continue for few days and they are looking for the fraud related evidenced. ED suspect that Nirav had laundered money abroad after manipulating banking system and producing forged import documents. They are examining the details.
The ED has lodged the money laundering case on basis of the CBI case against Nirav and other for defrauding the bank in connivance of two bank officials.
Earlier this month, the CBI booked Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, and uncle Mehul Choksi (all partners of three companies: Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds) in Rs 280 crore fraud case. Further probe revealed that the bank officials had issued around Rs 11,300 crore letter of understanding (LoU) to Nirav and other in last few years.
The CBI also booked a retired PNB officer and a clerk for helping the businesspersons. Last year, deputy manager (retired) Gokulnath Setty and single window operator Manoj Kharat had issued eight letters of understanding (LoU) worth over Rs 280 crore to Nirav’s company just three months before the former’s retirement. Yesterday, the CBI received two fresh complaints from PNB allegedly against Modi and a jewellery company alleging fraudulent transactions worth about Rs 11,400 crore.
Shetty retired in May. The LoUs were issued in February. The due date mentioned January 2018. An LOU is an assurance by a party to another that they will fulfill an obligation agreed on; in the context of finance, it usually refers to a bank guarantee).
“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and wrongful loss of (over Rs 280 crore) to PNB during 2017,” the FIR states. The bank said it was making an “in depth” inquiry to find outstanding LoUs that might not have been detected in its system.
“While tracing old entries, it transpired that buyers’ credit based on fake LoUs might also have been paid through a nostro account,” PNB said. Nostro account is an account that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank. Nostros are frequently used to facilitate foreign exchange and trade transactions.
(With inputs from agencies)