PNB fraud: MEA suspends passports of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi
The Ministry of External Affairs today suspended the passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, accused in the Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, for a period of four weeks with immediate effect.
The MEA took the step following the advice of the Enforcement Directorate.
“Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi have been asked 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,” the MEA statement said.
“If they fail to respond within the stipulated time, it will be assumed that they have responded... and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation,” the statement added.
On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED moved separate applications to the MEA seeking the revocation Nirav Modi's passport as well as that of his maternal uncle and his business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain.
Both are accused in the Rs 280 crore bank fraud case.
Meanwhile, the CBI has sought Interpol`s help in tracking down billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi, who is reported to have fled the country.
Also Read: Who is Mehul Choksi?
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday launched a nationwide raid on the offices, showrooms and workshops of billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi.
ED teams swooped down and carried out simultaneous raids on Modi`s offices, showrooms and diamond workshops in Mumbai, Surat (Gujarat) and New Delhi.
According to sources, unspecified quantity of stocks of gold, diamond and other precious stones worth several hundred crores of rupees have been seized during the raids, besides incriminating documents, computer discs and other materials.
The multi-pronged action came a day after the Punjab National Bank admitted to unearthing a fraud of Rs 11,515 crore involving Modi`s companies and certain other accounts with the bank`s flagship branch (Brady House Branch) in Mumbai and its second largest lending window in India.
Also Read: Who is Nirav Modi?