ED brings back Rs 1,350-cr worth polished diamonds, pearls of Nirav Modi, Choksi firms from HK

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday brought back over 2,300 kg of polished diamonds and pearls worth Rs 1,350 crore of firms belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from Hong Kong, the agency said.
Out of the 108 consignments that landed at Mumbai, 32 belong to overseas entities in the UAE and Hong Kong “controlled” by Nirav Modi while the rest are of Mehul Choksi firms, it said in a statement.
Both the businessmen are being probed by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with an over USD 2 billion alleged bank fraud at a PNB branch in Mumbai.
The 2,340 kg valuables include polished diamonds, pearls and silver jewellery, and is worth Rs 1,350 crore.
The ED completed “all legal formalities” with authorities in Hong Kong to bring back these valuables, the agency said.
These valuables, officials said, were moved to Hong Kong from Dubai in early 2018 so that they could be saved from being seized or attached by the ED or any other investigating agency.’ The ED got intelligence inputs on this movement in July that year and since then the sleuths were on its trail.
These valuables were kept in the godown of a logistics company in Hong Kong, the central probe agency said.
“The officers were continuously engaged in discussion with various authorities in Hong Kong to bring these valuables back to India. Various modalities were finalised and after completing all the legal formalities these consignments have now been brought back to India,” it said, adding they will be formally seized under the PMLA.
This is the second such action on this case as ED had earlier brought back 33 consignments of valuables from Dubai and Hong Kong. They were valued at Rs 137 crore then, the ED said.
On June 8, a special PMLA court in Mumbai had allowed confiscation of the attached assets of Nirav Modi, the key accused in this case, under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).
This was the first such order in the country after the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act was passed two years ago.
Nirav Modi (49), currently lodged in a UK jail, was declared a fugitive economic offender in December by the Mumbai court. He was arrested in London in March 2019 and is presently fighting extradition to India.
His uncle Mehul Choksi has been evading the law since the probe into this case began and was last stated to be living in Antigua and Barbuda from where the Indian government is seeking his extradition, the probe agencies have said.