New Delhi: Four Swiss bank accounts of diamantaire Nirav Modi, the main accused in the USD 2-billion PNB fraud case, and his sister have been “frozen” by authorities in Switzerland as part of the criminal money laundering probe being conducted against them in India, official sources said.
They said the accounts, at present, have deposits totalling Rs 283.16 crore and they have been frozen on the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it informed Swiss authorities that the money kept in them are “proceeds of crime” of a bank fraud perpetrated by the duo.
The ED, official sources said, made the request to the Swiss authorities sometime back and had also sent an official request under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
It is not immediately known in which bank these accounts are held. A provisional order for attachment of these four accounts, and one more in the name of a company controlled by Nirav Modi, was issued by the probe agency in Mumbai in September last year.
The five overseas accounts then had Rs 278 crore in deposits. Official sources said while the accounts of Nirav Modi, under arrest in this case in London, have deposits of USD 3,74,11,596, the accounts in the name of his sister Purvi Modi has deposits of GBP 27,38,136.
The total amount is about Rs 283.16 crore, they said. The central probe agency is now expected to make a move for the seizure and subsequent confiscation of these bank accounts under the PMLA.
The ED, along with the CBI, are investigating Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others for alleged money laundering and corruption to defraud the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore.
Nirav Modi has been absconding since the alleged bank fraud, by far the highest in the country in terms of value, came to light last year.
The ED has also filed a charge sheet against Nirav Modi alleging that he laundered and diverted over Rs 6,400 crore of bank funds abroad to dummy companies that were under his and his family’s control.
A total of 24 names were listed in the charge sheet, filed under section 45 of the PMLA. It includes Nirav Modi, his father Deepak Modi, brother Neeshal Modi, sister Purvi Modi, brother-in-law Maiank Mehta and the designer jewellers’ firms — Ms Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamonds R Us.