GJEPC: Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi fleeing India saw silver jewellery exports fall
Senior functionaries at the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council reported that silver jewellery exports dropped to $838 million (Rs 5,575 crore) from $3.4 billion in the 2019 financial year and cited jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s disappearances as a reason for this.
The GJEPC reported to TNN that the 75 percent decrease in silver jewellery exports from India in the previous financial year was in part due to the jewellers Modi and his uncle Choksi fleeing India before being accused of fraud at the Punjab National Bank. After Modi and Choksi fled the country, the jewellery businesses came to a standstill, which affected the industry as a whole.
Government officials have told the Times of India that the drop in silver jewellery exports most noticeably impacted the Surat Special Economic Zone. However, some industry insiders have alleged that most of the exports that Modi and Choksi were involved in were only on paper as part of a money laundering scheme. This is because the business they have apparently lost has not been picked up by other companies.
The GJEPC also reported that the decline in silver jewellery exports is a major cause of the three percent decline in India’s gem and jewellery exports as a whole. The GJEPC’s vice-president Colin Shah also cited a delay in Goods and Services Tax refunds and liquidity problems as reasons for this.
Along with silver jewellery exports, gold medallions and coins also saw exports decline in the last financial year. Gold coin and medallion exports dropped by 55 percent from almost $2 billion in the 2018 financial year to $876 million in the 2019 financial year.
This drop has been attributed to the Director General of Foreign Trade's decision to ban the export of 24-carat gold coins and medallions due to complaints of circular trading by exporters.
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