The Enforcement Directorate today raided Geetanjali Jewellers, a franchise of Nirav Modi, who has fled the country after his involvement surfaced in Rs 11,400 crore bank fraud in Punjab National Bank, and seized Rs 2.5 crore worth diamond and ublumineux jewelleries.
“A team of Enforcement Directorate from Jammu and Jallandhar jointly conducted raid at Geetanjali Jewellers at Sailan Talab, Udhampur, last evening and continued searches for two days in the presence of magistrates and independent witnesses during which they seized Rs 2 crore worth diamond jewellery and Rs 50 lakh ublumineux (a foreign made jewellery),’’ as told by official sources to Excelsior.
Geetanjali Jewellers, a franchise of Nirav Modi Group, is owned in Udhampur by Ravi Kumar Gupta, a local businessman.
Searches were conducted on the basis of First Information Report (FIR) registered in Mumbai by the Enforcement Directorate vide No. ECIR/1/ MD/Bby.
The search operation was executed by Sharad Kumar, Assistant Dire-ctor, Enforc-ement Direc-torate, J&K and was executed by Lalit Kumar, Assis-tant Director PMLA along with other officers of the Directorate in-cluding Raj Kumar, Rakesh Jamwal and Pankaj Kumar.
“Entire record pertaining to Geetanjali Jewellers in the shop, which was franchise of Geetanjali Retail Limited Bombay, has been seized,’’ sources said, adding that the record and seizure have been shifted to Jammu for further investigations.
“We are awaiting further directions from Mumbai and, if asked, the seized items can be transported to Mumbai,’’ sources said.
The seized items included gold and diamond studs, diamond finger rings, ear rings, nose pins, black beet chains, Mangal Sutras, Kamanayas and necklaces, totaling around 500 articles. Besides Rs 50 lakh worth foreign made ublumineux jewellery was also seized from the shop.
“Search revealed that the franchise had procured maximum articles on credit basis without any security,’’ sources said, adding the two-day long searches concluded peacefully.
PTI adds from Mumbai: Raids by the ED in connection with its money laundering probe against diamond czar Nirav Modi and others in the alleged Rs 11,400-crore bank fraud continued for the third day today with the agency saying it seized Rs 25 crore worth diamonds and jewellery, taking the total seizure value to Rs 5,674 crore.
“The ED conducted further searches at 21 locations across India in Nirav Modi case and seized diamonds, gold, precious stones/metals and jewellery worth Rs 25 crore (book value). The total seizure till now is Rs 5,674 crore,” it said in a statement.
The agency had earlier said it had arrived at the value of the assets seized based on the stock value at showrooms and stores, which was also the price at which the company purchased the goods.
It was also conducting an “independent valuation” of these assets.
The Enforcement Directorate had yesterday summoned Nirav Modi and his business partner and jewellery chain promoter Mehul Choksi in this case. They have been asked to appear before the Investigating Officer of the case at the ED office in Mumbai on February 23.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Nirav Modi and Choksi left the country in January, before an FIR was registered in the Punjab National Bank fraud case.
The raids that began on February 15 are expected to continue tomorrow, ED officials said.
ED sleuths are also in touch with a former Government-nominated director of a State-owned bank, who was a reported whistleblower in this case, as part of its investigation, they said.
The agency also filed a fresh money laundering case yesterday, taking cognizance of a new CBI FIR against Choksi and his companies.
The ED had first registered a PMLA case against the two, besides others, on February 14 based on a CBI FIR, on the basis of a Punjab National Bank complaint. The agency is probing if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
Diamantaire Modi, 46, a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, was booked by the CBI, along with wife, brother and Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating the state-run PNB to the tune of Rs 280 crore.
The bank subsequently sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs 11,400 crore.
The jewellery designer is understood to be a citizen of the country but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are not Indian nationals. They all left India between January 1 and 6, the CBI had said.
( Originally published in Daily Excelsior)