PNB fraud: ED raids over 40 locations in several cities on Monday

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday conducted searches at over 40 more locations in several cities across India in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, an official said.

The agency raided 10 places in Mumbai, six each in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, four in Chennai, three in Surat, two each in Bihar, Lucknow, Jalandhar and Hyderabad and one in Delhi.

The raids are also being carried out at diamond merchant Nirav Modi's house in Mumbai's Worli.

An earlier IANS report, based on inputs from ED officials, had stated that a raid was carried out on Sunday at a Gitanjali outlet in Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj. However, the mall in Delhi has written to IANS saying no such raid was conducted by the ED in Ambience, Vasant Kunj, "as we do not have any Gitanjali group store operating in our premises."

The ED on Friday, Saturday and Sunday had conducted raids at 35, 21 and over 45 locations across India, respectively, in connection with the PNB fraud involving around Rs 11,300 crore. Till Saturday, diamonds, gold and jewellery worth Rs 5,674 crore had been seized during the raids, ED spokesman, Anil Rawal had told IANS.

The ED on Thursday registered an FIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and conducted raids after allegations of fraud surfaced against billionaire Nirav Modi and his Mumbai-based firms -- Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.

The action is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case registered against Nirav Modi on Wednesday in connection with a fraud involving Rs 6,498 crore.

The CBI on Thursday registered fresh FIRs against 10 directors of the Gitanjali Group of companies on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act, including Mehul Choksi, the Managing Director of Gitanjali Gems Ltd based in Mumbai's Walkeshwar.

The FIR also named two former bank employees said to be directly involved in the fraudulent transactions.

Additionally, three companies of Gitanjali Group were also named in the second CBI FIR for defrauding PNB of Rs 4,886.72 crore.



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