Information is finally available on the items, including property, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized after conducting raids at different properties owned by fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the prime accused in the PNB scam. The total worth of the seizures is in the range Rs 3,601.90 cr, one of the largest ever made by ED in a single case. The ED Director, Karnal Singh, while speaking to The Sunday Guardian in July, had said that they were in the process of seizing the duo’s goods and properties from around the world. However, many at the time had dismissed Singh’s assertion as “a hollow statement that would never be translated into action”. Three months later, documents and other details accessed by this newspaper reveal that the ED has indeed managed to lay its hands on many immovable properties as well as cash, shares and jewelleries owned by the nephew-uncle duo.
Many of the seized assets are located outside India and hence the ED had to rely on cooperation from foreign agencies. This not only involved the careful handling of the talks with them to convince them to help, but also sending official requests, following these up consistently and using both official and personal resources to bring these items back and finally seize them.
The worth of the total seizures is mind-boggling. As per ED calculations, the total value of the seizures as of last week is Rs 3,601.90 crore—Rs 2,345.09 crore from Mehul Choksi and Rs 1,256.81 crore from Nirav Modi. According to ED officials, the funds used to purchase these properties were the stolen money from Punjab National Bank (PNB).
The seizures include diamond-studded jewellery worth Rs 22.69 crore, which were brought back to India from Hong Kong in 23 shipments (the book value of these diamonds, as declared by the two fraudsters was, Rs 85 crore); a flat in South Mumbai worth Rs 19.5 crore; a bank account belonging to an investment company registered in the British Virgin Islands, with a balance of Rs 44 crore; five other accounts in foreign banks, having a total balance of Rs 278 crore; an immovable property having a value of Rs 57 crore (which is in the name of Nirav Modi’s sister Purvi and is located in London); and two more immovable properties having a total value of Rs 216 crore (owned by Nirav Modi and located in Central Park, New York).
The details of the assets seized from Nirav Modi are: 11 cars worth Rs 4 crore, including a Rolls Royce-Ghost; precious stones worth Rs 500 crore; a wind farm in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, worth Rs 52 crore; Rs 55 crore from bank accounts; and shares worth Rs 36 crore.
Nirav Modi invested the maximum in immovable assets worth Rs 600 crore, including the iconic Rhythm House in the Kala Ghoda area of Mumbai; four flats worth a total of Rs 100 crore in the upscale Samudra Mahal Society in Mumbai; and 25 other properties that are spread across Maharashtra and Gujarat.
As per the details accessed by this newspaper, Mehul “bhai” spent more extravagantly on buying property, and owned property worth Rs 910 crore. All this is under the ED’s control. This includes 50 flats in one society in Borivali in Mumbai. Apart from that, the ED has seized items worth Rs 817 crore including diamonds and shares worth Rs 106 crore, apart from Rs 13 crore in cash.