The Income Tax department has slapped fresh charges under the new anti-black money law against jeweller Nirav Modi, involved in the Rs 114 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, for allegedly holding an illegal asset abroad, official sources said.
According to them, this is the second overseas asset that the taxman suspects has not been disclosed to it by the diamantaire, who is suspected to have left India in January.
The Income Tax department had last week slapped sections of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 against Nirav Modi last week after it detected that a bank account in Singapore was allegedly held by him, which is not disclosed to the tax authorities.
The latest foreign asset is suspected to be a trust registered in Jersey, located near the coast of Normandy. The business trust is being probed for routing funds with alleged links to Modi.
The department is also probing two separate transfer of funds -- Rs 2.84 billion from Cyprus and Rs 2.71 billion from Singapore -- to a firm linked to the diamantaire in India.
The income tax department, on February 16, had provisionally attached 29 properties and 105 bank accounts of the diamond merchant, his family and firms as part of its tax evasion probe.
The new anti-black money law deals with cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The new legislation has provisions for a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income, besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.
The taxman also had filed a charge sheet against Modi before a special court in Mumbai 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, 1961.
The court will take up the case on February 27.
Tax sleuths also pasted attachment notices at immovable properties of Modi, his wife Ami and his firms located in Mumbai, Surat, Jaipur and Delhi.
In the Maharashtra capital, the properties that have been provisionally attached pending assessment, include Modi's premises in the posh Peddar road area, Worli, Bandra, Lower Parel and Opera House.
A total of 105 bank accounts of Modi, his family and companies have also been attached, they said.
"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, accessed by PTI, had said.
The I-T had first raided Modi in January last year on charges of alleged tax evasion.
Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others are accused in a Rs 11,400-crore fraud involving the Punjab National Bank.