High Court (India)

October 03, 2019

Mehul Choksi Moves Bombay HC Seeking Reinstatement Of Seized Goods Alleging That The ED Has Undervalued Them

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


Absconding jeweler and willful defaulter Mehul Choksi has moved the Bombay High Court seeking revaluation as well as reinstatement of his assets seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

He has alleged that the seized goods were “undervalued” by the ED, adding that these might have been changed with other goods.

There is no other reason why two registered government valuers gave two drastically different valuations of the same goods, his application before the court has stated.

According to Choksi’s application goods seized at his Hyderabad SEZ premises, pegged at Rs 103.08 crore by the ED, have been undervalued. He stated that a previous valuation of Rs 3,840 crore was also made by a registered valuer and it is not possible that the previous valuer could have made an arbitrary valuation.

The ED has not submitted any valuation report and not given any reason why the valuation was reduced, Choksi’s application stated.

He has also challenged the stocks seized by the ED claiming that though only “proceeds of crime” can be seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and not any property, the Enforcement Directorate has seized stock purchased from a legitimate source which is not a crime.

Choksi’s application which was filed through his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal stated that his assets were valued by the Customs Department but it never issued any notice that these were overvalued.

The goods are also subject to special inspection by the government, the application stated.

Meanwhile, investigating agencies have indicated that they intend to contest the “frivolous” application filed by Choksi, who they said is merely trying to delay court proceedings deliberately.

According to the investigating agencies, a probe conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED has concluded that the uncle-nephew duo of Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi sold synthetic diamonds.

An investigation ordered by a US bankruptcy court observed that the diamond trader’s firm in the US, Samuels Jewelers Inc, might have sold lab-grown diamonds to customers by wrongly certifying them as natural diamonds.

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