The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a chargesheet against fugitive diamentaire Mehul Choksi, his wife Priti and others in connection with the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. The chargesheet states that Priti Choksi was a major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime in the case.
On Monday, a special court in Mumbai took cognisance of the ED chargesheet which was filed in March under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Sources said that the duo will be asked to appear before the court in the coming days.
In June 2021, India Today ran an exclusive report on how Priti Choksi was also a major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime in the PNB scam. Exclusive details accessed by India Today showed that she was an active part of the elaborate scam and also gained from the proceeds of crime that were laundered overseas.
How Priti Choksi was involved in PNB scam?
In 2013, Priti, along with one person named Dion Lily-White, who was an employee of Gitanjali Gems in the UAE, met CD Shah and his assistant Neha Shinde, to incorporate three offshore companies for her — Ms Charing Cross Holdings Ltd, Ms Colindale Holdings Ltd, and Hillingdon Holdings Ltd. Shah ran a consultancy named Magus Consultancy.
In the three companies, nominee directors had been provided by Magus Consultancy, and Al Shalmali was the registered agent for them.
Hillingdon Holdings was incorporated in Jabel Ali Free zone on November 24, 2013, and Priti Choksi was the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO). Whereas in Japan, Arvind Kumar Shah, an employee of Magus, was appointed as nominee shareholder and director therein Hillingdon Holdings was the sole shareholder of Ms Goldhawk DMCC (former name Diminico DMCC).
Several companies of Mehul Choksi, like Diminico DMCC, which was changed to Goldhawk DMCC, a subsidiary of Hillingdon Holdings Ltd, were operating for the beneficial interest of Mehul Choksi.
On November 9, 2014, AED 6,00,000 (INR 1,20,00,000 @INR 20/AED) were transferred into the account of Hillingdon Holdings from Ms Asian Diamonds and Jewellery FZE, which was a UAE based Gitanjali group company and a direct beneficiary of proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 349.48 crore.
Ms Goldhawk had three immovable properties in UAE with a total area of 5123.08 sq ft, valued at AED 11,270, 776 (Rs 22,54,15,520).
Goldhawk DMCC owned 3 properties in Almas Tower, Dubai that the ED had put under attachment in the year 2019.
These immovable properties were registered under Diminico DMCC and are still in the name of the same company.