PNB fraud: Income Tax Department attaches 7 properties of Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali group in Mumbai

In connection with Rs 11,400 crore fraud at state-run lender Punjab National Bank.

PNB fraud: Income Tax Department attaches 7 properties of Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali group in Mumbai
Mehul Choksi. (Photo: DNA)

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Income Tax Department on Monday attached seven properties of the Gitanjali Group and its promoter Mehul Choksi in Mumbai in connection with Rs 11,400 crore fraud at state-run lender Punjab National Bank. 

Under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the department issued an order for provisional attachment of flats and buildings of these entities, which are located in the Opera House, Bandra, Andheri, Wadala and Walkeshwar Road areas of the Maharashtra capital.

According to I-T department sources, four of these attached assets were in the name of Gitanjali Gems Limited, two were in the name of Mehul Chinubhai Choksi and one in the name of Gili India Limited. They said the action was taken to "recover outstanding tax demands".

On February 17, the I-T department had similarly attached 9 banks accounts of the Gitanjali Group and Mehul Choksi.

The department had also attached 29 properties and 105 bank accounts of beleaguered diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his family last week.

The department had also slapped charges of the new anti-Black Money Act against Modi for allegedly holding an illegal asset abroad (Singapore).
Under the new anti-black money law, cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the regular and civil Income Tax Act of 1961, attract a steep 120 percent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.

The Taxman also filed a charge sheet against Modi before a special court in Mumbai last week under sections 276 C (1) (wilful attempt to evade tax), 277 A (false statement in verification), 278 B (offences by companies) and 278 E (presumption as to culpable mental state) of the Income Tax Act.
The court will take up the case on February 27.

"These attachments have been made keeping in view the huge demand which is likely to be raised in the assessment proceedings which are underway in the case of Nirav Modi, his family members and group concerns," an I-T report had said.

The department had first raided Modi in January last year on charges of alleged tax evasion and had also surveyed Choksi's businesses.

Nirav Modi, his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple federal agencies after it recently came to light, following a complaint by the PNB, that they allegedly cheated the state lender to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe this case. 

 

(With PTI inputs)

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