New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said Wednesday it has confiscated assets worth Rs 329.66 crore of diamond merchant Nirav Modi. This has been done under the fugitive Economic Offenders Law (FEO). This is the first confiscation of assets order issued under the law. It was brought by the Modi government in 2018. This was done with an aim to deter economic offenders from evading the process of law. Most of the times these economic offenders remained outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts to evade legal proceedings.
Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others are being probed by the ED on money laundering charges. They have been booked in connection with over USD 2 billion alleged bank fraud at a PNB branch in Mumbai.
“The confiscated properties are in the form of four flats at the iconic building Samudra Mahal in Worli Mumbai. The other properties confiscated are a sea-side farm house and land in Alibaug and a wind mill in Jaisalmer. Also a flat in London, flats in UAE, shares and bank deposits have been confiscated,” the central probe agency said. A special court in Mumbai had June 8 authorised the ED to confiscate the assets.
Nirav Modi, 49, was declared a fugitive economic offender by the same court December 5 last year.
“The ED has attached the properties worth Rs 329.66 crore under the FEO Act, 2018. It now stands confiscated to the central government,” the ED said in a statement.
As per the FEO Act, the confiscated property can be put up for auction after 90 days of issuance of the order. The amount collected is deposited with the exchequer or government account. The ED also sticks a notice of confiscation on such properties.
The ED till now has attached assets worth Rs 2,348 crore (assessed value) of Nirav Modi under PMLA in this case.
Nirav Modi is currently lodged in a UK jail after being arrested in London in March, 2019. He is currently fighting extradition to India.