Two days after the $1.8 bn fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) broke out, the government on Friday suspended passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi for four weeks.
"On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has today suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967," the Ministry of External Affairs said here in a statement.
"Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi have been asked to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967. If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation," the statement added.
In what could be the biggest banking scams in India so far, state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) unearthed a Rs 11,300 crore scam on Wednesday, after which it filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Following the complaint, CBI booked billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi in the case.
Following this, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against Nirav Modi and others, on the basis of the CBI FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
On Thursday, ED conducted raids at the residence and offices of Nirav Modi and PNB. Nirav Modi's showroom in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, three showrooms in Surat, four others in Mumbai and two in Delhi have been raided
Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoU) from one of the branches of PNB for receiving overseas credit from other Indian lenders. PNB has already complained against Nirav Modi for fraudulent transactions worth Rs 280 crore, for which he is currently under investigation.
(With IANS inputs)