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ED seizes jewellery worth Rs 85cr in Mehul Choksi case

New Delhi, May 17 (UNI) Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths on Thursday seized more than 34,000 pieces of jewellery valued at Rs 85 crore which was brought in from Dubai and were recovered during search proceedings at a strong room belonging to Bharat Diamond Bourse.
The investigating agency found from the data obtained from Punjab National Bank that with the connivance of accused bank officials, unauthorised Letter of Undertakings (LOUs) aggregating to Rs 3,032.17 crore and unauthorised Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLCs), a U.S. based technology transfer organisation, aggregating to Rs 3,106.56 crore were issued to Gitanjali Group of companies.
The funds so raised for payment of Import Bills have not been utilised for such purposes in many cases.
The ongoing probe has also revealed that fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi-controlled Gitanjali Group has many overseas subsidiaries, dummy or shell companies which were used by him for circular trading.
He had devised a modus operandi under which the Indian companies of Mehul Choksi were importing the unfinished goods or raw material, that is diamonds, coloured stones, pearl among others from his overseas entities situated mainly in Hong Kong and UAE. The same goods were shown to be processed and made into jewellery and again exported by the Indian entities of Mehul Choksi to his overseas firms.

During the detailed investigation, it was also found that after dismounting diamonds, coloured stones and pearls from the jewellery, gold or silver was being sent for melting and converted into bullion and sent back to India directly or through Dubai.
The Choksi-controlled Gitanjali ventures and other subsidiary companies were involved in money laundering through the dubious transactions.
In the earlier seizures, due to proactive action by the officers of the probing agency, they ensured that the goods were brought to India and when these reached at the strong room of Bharat Diamond Bourse in the morning on May 5, this year, the officers of Enforcement Directorate were already there with the search warrant. The declared value of goods is around Rs 92 Crore (US Dollar 13 million), an official release said.
ED got an independent valuation of the goods from Government Approved Valuer done who put the value at Rs 85 crore.

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