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Inquiry ordered into Mehul Choksi's vast farm land in Raigad

Saturday, February 09, 2019
By Raju Vernekar

Raigad collector has directed the Panvel sub divisional revenue officer to take stock of several acres of farm land at Chirwat Village, cultivated as orchid for fruit cultivation by Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, who is an absconding accused, wanted in multi crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

The exercise is a part of drive to recover amount in a USD  2 billion fraud at a Mumbai-based branch of the PNB. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already attached 41 properties worth about Rs 1,210 crore, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The attached assets include:15 flats and 17 office premises in Mumbai, a mall in Kolkata, a four-acre farm house in Alibaug and 231 acres of land at locations like Nashik, Nagpur, Panvel in Maharashtra and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu.

However, Choksi’s around 26 acre farm land located near Mumbai-Goa highway was not attached. The land in Raigad includes: about 20 acre farm land at Chirwat, 3.25 acre at Turmale and 3.40 acre land at Sangurli village. The land falls in Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA).

Dr. Vijay Suryavanshi, Raigad collector said that further action will be taken after the report is received from the Panvel sub divisional revenue officer. The fugitive businessman, who  is currently residing in Antigua and Barbuda, is the  owner of Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India. An arrest warrant against fugitive Choksi has been issued in connection with the alleged PNB case. He was allegedly involved in stock market manipulation in 2013.

In March 2018, a special PMLA court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants (NBWs) against Choksi, and his nephews Nirav Modi and Neeshal Deepak Modi, owner of Firestar Diamonds. They are suspected of colluding with two employees of PNB,  the country's second-largest state-owned lender. At least six PNB staff and at least six employees of Choksi and Modi have been arrested so far.

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