ED searches multiple locations over Rs 280-cr money laundering probe against Nirav Modi
New Delhi :The Enforcement Directorate searched multiple locations across cities on Thursday in connection with a Rs 280-crore money laundering case against Nirav Modi, who has been linked by investigators to a Rs 11,400-crore fraud case at the state-run Punjab National Bank. The premises raided by the ED include Modi’s residence in Mumbai’s 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. Official sources told PTI the agency filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR filed early this month. The PNB said in a regulatory filing that the fraud benefited “a few select account holders” and that it has reported the matter to law enforcement agencies. Sources told the Press Trust of India that the ED would probe if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime were subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money. The CBI had booked diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and a business partner for allegedly cheating PNB of over Rs 280.70 crore in 2017. It had also raided the residence of Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials — Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the FIR as accused. The PNB’s Rs 11,400-crore disclosure came just over a week after investigators said they were probing Modi and others over accusations that they defrauded the PNB of rs 280 crore. An official with the CBI told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the cases were related. News portal BloombergQuint cited the government’s financial services secretary Rajeev Kumar as saying the latest fraud was also related to jeweller Modi. Modi could not be immediately be reached for comment and has not made any comment on the accusations made against him last week. Television channel CNBC TV18 reported that Modi had offered to repay all dues to banks through a sale of his flagship company Firestar Diamond. The PNB has suspended 10 officers over the scam and referred the matter to the CBI for investigation. Shares of the Punjab National Bank extended their fall on Thursday for the second straight session, falling as much as 9% in morning trade. Axis Bank said it had dealt in transactions that had been guaranteed with letters of undertaking from PNB, but it had since sold those transactions.