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On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday suspended the validity of passports of diamond merchant Nirav Deepak Modi and Gitanjali Gems CMD Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967.
Nirav Modi and Choksi have been asked to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967. If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they do not have a response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation.
Earlier in the day the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which registered a case against jewelry retailer Gitanjali in a $1.77 billion fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), conducted searches at 20 locations in six cities of the Gitanjali group of firms promoted by Mehul Choksi, the source said.
Choksi, managing director of Gitanjali Gems, along with billionaire jeweler and diamond merchant Nirav Modi are accused of being at the centre of the fraud involving PNB, the country second-largest state-run lender.