Thursday, Jun 20, 2024 | Last Update : 09:57 PM IST

  Metros   Mumbai  15 Mar 2018  Enforcement Directorate issues Interpol Red Corner notice

Enforcement Directorate issues Interpol Red Corner notice

Published : Mar 15, 2018, 5:35 am IST
Updated : Mar 15, 2018, 5:35 am IST

Modi, Choksi may be hiding in Hong Kong, US.

Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, key accused in Rs. 11, 400 crore Punjab National Bank scam. (Photo: PTI)
 Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, key accused in Rs. 11, 400 crore Punjab National Bank scam. (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has moved for issuance of an Interpol Red Corner Notice against diamond businessman Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Choksi and Modi are reportedly holed up in Hong Kong and United States of America respectively, officials said.

The duo are wanted for defrauding PNB of over Rs 12,000 crore by issuance of at least 143 fraudulent Letter of Undertakings (LOUs) for overseas branches of other public banks. The LOUs were issued to Allahabad bank and Axis bank branches in Hong Kong, which issued the money to Modi while PNB stood guarantee for the repayment. “The RCN will be sent to the respective countries for getting their custody. The process has begun for bringing them back,” said an ED officer.

In a bid to close in on the duo, the ED traced their locations overseas based on the preliminary probe in the case. The ED then issued a non-bailable warrant against them and the Indian government also revoked their passports subsequently. 

The agency, which is conducting a thorough probe into the financial trail of the money defrauded from PNB, also completed the procedure of issuance of Letters Rogatory (LR) recently. An LR is a communication from an Indian court to the court of the concerned foreign country, seeking assistance pertaining to the facts of the person or his assets there. 

On March 1, the ED attached 41 properties worth Rs 1217.20 crore belonging to Choksi. The attachments include flats, office premises, shopping outlets, land parcels and farmhouses owned by Choksi. It includes 15 flats and 17 office premises in Mumbai, M/s Hyderabad Gems SEZ, AP, shopping mall in Kolkata, a farm house in Alibaug and 231 acres land in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

PNB auditor in judicial custody

A CBI court on Wednesday remanded Bishnubrata Mishra, an internal chief auditor at Brady House branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Mumbai, to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with the alleged `12,700 crore fraud at the bank. The CBI also added section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker) of IPC in the case registered against Nirav Modi. The CBI on Tuesday had added same section in the case registered against Mehul Choksi.

According to the CBI, the arrested and wanted accused in this case cheated and also abused their official position at PNB and caused undue pecuniary advantage to M/s Diamond R US, M/s Solar Exports and M/s Steller Diamonds.

Mishra was responsible for the concurrent audit for the period between 2011 and 2015 at PNB’s Mumbai branch. He was supposed to audit the procedures and practices followed in the branch and report to them any irregularities and ensure that the same are rectified to protect the interests of the bank. 

However, Mishra allegedly conspired with the other co-accused and deliberately neglected to point out issuance of illegal LoUs causing losses to the bank.

Mishra was produced before the court after his CBI custody got over on Wednesday and the agency did not seek his further remand. But CBI counsel A. Lemosin told the court that if released on bail, the accused could tamper with witnesses and evidence and hence he should be remanded to judicial custody. The court remanded him to judicial custody till March 28.

Tags: nirav modi bank fraud, mehul choksi, punjab national bank fraud case, nirav modi