Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Indian investigators seize jeweler's luxury cars in $1.8 bln fraud probe

Image for representation Image for representation
Theresa Hayes | 23 February, 2018, 01:29

Jindal is the 12th accused to be arrested in the case so far.

Unlike earlier, when the agency had rushed to proclaim the value of seized items, an official said on Thursday: "We do not know whether these paintings are original works of these renowned artists. It has a swimming pool, library, gym and other luxuries".

A global manhunt has been launched by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for Nirav Modi, who was estimated to be worth nearly £1.3bn in 2017 and has appeared on the World's Billionaires and Forbes' 100 Richest Indians lists for several years.

Modi runs an worldwide jewellery empire that reaches from India to NY, with a string of high-end brands.

With the Indian media reporting that Modi and his family were hiding in NY or Dubai, the External Affairs Ministry said it has suspended the passports of Modi and his uncle, Choksi, for four weeks.

Nirav Modi's Firestar International firm's President Vipul Ambani, its Senior Executive Arjun Patil, and Executive Assistant and authorised signatory of the diamond merchant's three accused firms, Kavita Mankikar, were arrested Tuesday. Besides them, the agency officials would also continue to examine the executive level officials of Choksi's Gitanjali Group. According to reports, Vipul is related to Reliance patriarch Dhirubhai Ambani.

The agency presented six persons arrested yesterday before special a CBI court in Mumbai which remanded them in custody till March 3.

In his letter, Modi claimed the bank "destroyed" his brand and business and "restricted" its ability to recover dues by making a public announcement about the matter.

Previously on Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at 4 Mumbai offices of Nirav Modi, located at the Opera House, Peddar Road, Goregaon (East) and Powai.

The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Choksi has not commented on the case but Gitanjali, in a stock exchange filing, has denied his involvement in the alleged fraud.

The agency also seized paintings owned by Nirav and attributed to Francis Souza, M.F. Husain, Amrita Sher-Gil, V.S. Gaitonde and Akbar Padamsee.

"You were getting LoUs issued illegally and in an unauthorized way through few bank officials". The letter also said Modi's offers to settle the loans were not supported by "upfront amounts and timelines". His ministry is said to have sought a reply from the RBI on whether it found any wrongdoing while inspecting PNB's account books.