NEW DELHI — Diamond czar Nirav Modi, who is being investigated in India for defrauding Punjab National Bank of over Rs 11,300 crore along with his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Gitanjali Group, Feb. 22 told the Enforcement Directorate that he could not appear before it as his passport has been suspended.
According to the ED officials, Modi, in his email reply to the agency, said that he "cannot depose before the agency now as his passport has been temporarily suspended.”
The government had Feb. 16 temporarily suspended the passports of Modi and Choksi for four weeks on the request of the ED. It had also asked Modi and Choksi to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967.
Modi and Choksi were summoned by the financial probe agency for questioning in connection with the PNB fraud case last week under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Earlier in the day, the ED officials said that it has seized nine high-end luxury cars belonging to Nirav Modi besides crores of assets. The agency seized a Rolls Royce Ghost, two Mercedes Benz GL series, a Porsche Panamera, three Hondas, a Toyota Fortuner and an Innova.
The agency also froze mutual funds and shares worth Rs 7.80 crore of Nirav Modi and Rs 86.72 crore belonging to his uncle Choksi of the Gitanjali Group.
On Feb. 21, the agency carried out searches at over 17 different locations across the country.
The agency's action comes in the wake of its ongoing probe against the two and many others, including directors of their companies and bank officials for the alleged bank fraud.
Income Tax department officials Feb. 22 also attached properties worth Rs 1,200 crore of the Gitanjali Group in Hyderabad.
On Feb. 21 the IT department has also attached 141 bank accounts and fixed deposits of the Nirav Modi group. The cumulative credit balance in these accounts were about Rs 145.74 crore.