New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested Shyam Sunder Wadhwa, Vice President, Finance, of Firestar Group and a close confidante of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi under PMLA.
Last week ED seized valuables worth over Rs 36 crore of Nirav Modi. The items seized included Rs 10-crore diamond ring, antique jewellery worth Rs 15 crore, high-end watches valued at Rs 1.40 crore, Rs 10 crore-worth paintings by renowned artists including M.F. Hussain, K.K. Hebbar and Amrita Shergil.
Firestar Diamond Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on 26 February in the United States, following accusations that other firms led by Modi and his uncle colluded with officials of state-run Punjab National Bank to secure unauthorised loans between 2011 and 2017. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Firestar Group, which in turn is wholly owned by Synergies Corp. Both are Delaware incorporated.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Gems Ltd, left India in January before the fraud came to light, but have said in letters and statements they are innocent.
Last month, the ED had attached 21 properties, including a penthouse and a farmhouse, of Nirav Modi and his group worth over Rs 523 crore in action against the beleaguered jeweller.
The properties sealed included 10 offices, including two in Lower Parel worth around Rs 80 crore, six houses and two flats in Pune, all of which are registered in Nirav Modi’s name, in the name of his family members or companies or the Nirav Modi Trust.
Modi and Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after the PNB scam came to light following a complaint by the bank that they had allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore but the amount involved was later revised to Rs 13,900 crore as more such transactions came to light.
The ED has registered the money laundering case against Nirav Modi, his firms and others on the basis of a CBI first information report.