MEA suspends validity of passport of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi

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He added in a letter written to the banks on February 14th, the finance ministry has directed all PSU bank chief's to take active and precautionary steps to prevent such scams.

While the Ministry of External Affairs said it was unaware of Nirav Modi's location, a report claimed that the jewellery designer is now staying at a hotel in NY.

Agency sleuths swooped down on at least 10 premises linked to the case early this morning. Ltd. head office in Bharat Diamond Bourse in the Bandra Kurla Complex, Modi's private office at Kohinoor City in Kurla West, his showroom and boutique at ITTS House in Fort, South Mumbai and a workshop in the Peninsula Business Park in Lower Parel.

Diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore have been seized during the searches, the officials said.

The CBI on Friday registered a FIR against the Gitanjali Group of companies based on a complaint registered by the PNB.

The first loans were allegedly drawn in 2011 and continued until last month when Modi's companies approached PNB seeking fresh funds.

Indian news reports say the alleged US$43-million scam is a part of the larger fraud. "Independent valuation has been started".

However, according to AlJazeera, CBI has said Nirav Modi has already left the country. The CBI had issued look out circulars against all the accused on January 31.

Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said the ministry is "frankly" not aware of Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam accused Nirav Modi's location who fled the country on January 1st, 2018. It reported that Modi and his brother left on January 1. "But they are coming out with some vague offers, which are under examination", said Mehta.

His brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, also left the country on January 1, while his wife Ami, a United States citizen, and business partner Mehul Choksi, the Indian promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, flew out on January 6, the officials said. In the new FIR, it has mentioned 143 Letters of Understanding - bank guarantees issued for overseas import payments - and 224 foreign letters of credit.

In its complaint to the federal investigation agency - the Central Bureau of Investigation - PNB alleged that the fraud was led by Nirav Modi, who is No. 85 on Forbes's 2017 list of India's richest people and, at 47, is one of the youngest.

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