In a significant order, a special court in Mumbai on Monday ordered the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to confiscate specified properties, worth Rs 1,400 crore, of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi within a month, a lawyer said.
"The accused (Nirav Modi) was declared a fugitive economic offender on December 5, 2019, and the order to confiscate the properties has come on Monday," Special Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told IANS.
The order by PMLA Court Special Judge V. C. Barde directs the agencies concerned including the Income Tax Department to attach and confiscate the listed properties, under Sections 12(2) and (8) of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
However, the properties claimed by certain interested parties which are secured by way of hypothecation, mortgage etc, including valuable paintings seized by the Income Tax Department, are excluded, Special Judge Barde ruled as he partially disposed of the ED plea.
These interested parties, including banks, will be required to proceed with their claims on such mortgaged, hypothecated, guaranteed properties before a competent court, authority or tribunal, as provided in the law.
The ED has been granted liberty to file a supplementary application in case more properties of Modi are identified for confiscation.
Modi, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, is among the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud of over Rs 14,000 crore, unearthed over two years ago.
Currently, Modi is in a London prison after his arrest by the local police in March 2019, while Choksi has become a citizen of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua & Barbuda.