GJEPC considers cancelling Firestar, Gitanjali Gems' membership amid scandal
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council have announced that they will be willing to cancel the membership of Firestar Diamonds and Gitanjali Gems should their owners be found guilty in the ongoing Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
Firestar Diamonds is owned by Nirav Modi who is currently at the centre of a fraud investigation concerning funds over 11,000 crore rupees (approximately 1.7 billion US dollars) and Gitanjali Gems is promoted by Modi’s uncle, Mehul Choksi, who is also involved in the case. Both Modi and Choksi are currently out of the country, exiting before the scandal broke, but other senior executives in their companies have already resigned and arrests have been made. Vipul Ambani, the Finance President of Firestar Diamonds, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 20 as part of the investigation.
In response to this situation, the GJEPC had already stated that members were happy to help with the CBI’s work as needed. The GJEPC’s Chairman, Praveenshankar Pandya, and now gone further to state that, should the accused be found guilty, he will take action against them and potentially suspend their membership of the organisation.
“Their companies are registered with us,” said Pandya about Modi and Choksi. “Nothing is known as of now but if something comes out, we will take disciplinary action against them.”
The GJEPC represents almost 6,000 exporters and membership is considered vital for good relations exporting gems and jewellery out of India. In this way, the suspension of Modi and Choksi’s membership would have a huge impact on their ability to export their products, even if remaining abroad could save them from being legally reprimanded.
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