New Delhi, Feb 16: Two days after the $1.8 bn fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) came into the limelight, 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.
On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended validity of passports of #NiravModi & #MehulChoksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks pic.twitter.com/DwBMxawJ5m
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2018
Earlier in a day, eight more employees of Punjab National Bank had been suspended, taking a total number of employees to 18, which also includes General Manager level officers.
The internal investigation of the bank is still underway, news agency ANI reported.
After almost 24 hours, raids continued at Nirav Modi’s boutique in Kala Ghoda in Mumbai on Friday also. It is alleged that Modi and his associate firms fraudulently acquired PNB guarantees worth USD 1.7 billion that they later used to obtain loans overseas.
Earlier in a day, the Interpol’s diffusion notice had been also issued against the diamantaire, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and Mehul Choksi in connection with the fraud case.
In the meantime, Finance Ministry sources told ANI that recapitalisation of PNB will not be impacted by fraud case, the bank will get its recapitalisation share of Rs 5000 crore, as allocated earlier.
Yesterday, CBI had sealed the residence of Nirav Modi’s wife in Mumbai’s Worli.
The probe agency sealed her residence after conducting a raid on February 3 and 4. It also seized 95 documents including import bills and applications.