PMLA Authority asserts Mehul Choksi's properties are money laundering assets
The Prevention for Money Laundering Act (PMLA) authority has asserted that the 41 properties that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached to the case against jeweller Mehul Choksi are money laundering assets.
The ED had provisionally attached a total of 41 properties owned by the fugitive jewellery tycoon Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Gems and his businesses to the case against him for fraud at the Punjab National Bank. The PMLA authority has now confirmed that these properties should continue to be attached and has confirmed that they have been obtained through fraudulent means.
The properties are collectively valued at around Rs 1,210 crore ($181.9 million) and include 17 office premises and 15 apartments in Mumbai, a four-acre farm house in Alibaug, a mall in Kolkata, and 231 acres of land across Nagpur, Panvel (Maharashtra), Villupuram (Tamil Nadu), and Nashik among others. The total of the fraud that Choksi is implicated in is at least Rs 13,500 crore.
Tushar V Shah, a Member of the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA, said in a recent order: "Considering the material in the original complaint... I find that immovable properties provisionally attached are all involved in money laundering… I, therefore, hereby confirm the attachment of properties...and order that the said attachment shall continue during investigation for a period not exceeding ninety days or the pendency of proceedings relating to any offence under the PMLA before a court and become final after an order of confiscation is passed by the special court."
Choksi is still in Antigua where he has taken citizenship. The CBI is currently working to deport him to India to stand trial.
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