Sebi orders attachment of bank, demat accounts of fugitive Mehul Choksi

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Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi.

New Delhi: Markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), on Friday ordered attachment of bank and demat accounts of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi as well as Gitanjali Gems and its executive director Dhanesh Sheth to recover dues worth over Rs 5 crore. Choksi, the uncle of diamantaire Nirav Modi, is the promoter and managing director of Gitanjali Gems.

Nirav Modi allegedly had defrauded state-owned Punjab National Bank of over Rs 14,000 crore. At present he is undergoing jail terms in the UK. Sebi has decided to attach the accounts after Choksi, Gitanjali Gems and Sheth failed to pay fine imposed on them.

In February, Sebi had imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on them for violating various norms, including listing regulations. Total pending dues is about Rs 5.27 crore. That is, initial fine of Rs 5 crore and interest Rs 27 lakh, besides a recovery cost of Rs 1,000.

Sebi asked banks and depositories not to allow any debit from Choksi, Gitanjali Gems and Sheth’s accounts till further orders. However, Sebi has permitted banks to take credits. Further, the watchdog has directed the banks to attach all accounts, including lockers, held by these defaulters.

Sebi said it has sufficient reason to believe that the defaulters would dispose of the amounts in the bank accounts and securities in the demat accounts. As a result, “realisation of amount due under the certificate be delayed or obstructed,” and accordingly decided to attach their bank and demat accounts.

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