The Enforcement Directorate of the Indian government has seized 9 luxury cars belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, two men accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank to the tune of over 11,000 crores. The cars were seized as a part of the ED investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The cars seized included a Rolls Royce Phantom ultra luxury car, a Toyota Fortuner SUV, a Mercedes Benz GL-Class SUV, a Mercedes Benz C-Class sedan, a Porsche Panamera performance saloon, a Honda CR-V SUV and a Toyota Innova MPV. Two other unnamed Honda cars were also seized earlier today.
The total value of these cars combined is over Rs. 10 crores. Both Modi and Choksi are absconding and are said to have left India. While the Rolls Royce Ghost and Porsche Panamera are direct imports from abroad, the rest of the cars are either fully manufactured or part-assembled in India.
These cars are likely to be auctioned off to recover the dues that Nirav Modi owns to Punjab National Bank. However, the auction value of these cars will be much lower than their on-road prices. So, the bank is expected to gain less than Rs. 5 crores through the auction route.
Apart from the cars seized, Enforcement Directorate officials have also seized other properties of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Cash of Rs. 145.74 crores in multiple bank accounts, jewellery, mutual funds and shares worth around 94 crores, and a farmhouse in Alibaug worth 32 crores have been seized by the ED.
All these assets will be used to pay a part of the loan that Nirav Modi has taken from PNB. The government is trying to find the country/countries to where Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have allegedly fled. For now, speculation suggests that Mr. Modi is holed up at an upscale New York hotel. The whereabouts of Choksi remain unknown.
News Source: Indian Express