Both Mr Modi and Mr Choksi, diamond merchants and high-profile jewellers, have been accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of defrauding the PNB under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). ``On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967,' MEA said in a press release here on Friday.
``Mr Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr. Mehul Chinubhai 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 have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation,' the MEA said.
In searches conducted by the ED on the premises of Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems in several locations in the country on Thursday, the probe agency seized valuables worth over Rs. 5,100 crores. The opposition has mounted a scathing criticism of the NDA government for the alleged scam in the PNB. (UNI)