The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday night arrested the vice-president of a firm of diamantaire Nirav Modi in connection with a money laundering probe in the over Rs 12,000 crore PNB bank scam, officials said. The accused identified as Shyam Sunder Wadhwa is the vice president of the Firestar group. He was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
Described as a “close confidant” of Modi, Wadhwa was in touch with Modi and is also involved in money laundering at the behest of and in aid of Nirav Modi, an official said. This is the ED’s first arrest in the case and Wadhwa is expected to be produced before a court in Mumbai after which the agency will seek his remand. The central probe agency said Wadhwa will help “unravel the truth behind the scam”.
The ED alleged that Wadhwa was trying to “mislead” the agency during interrogation, but confessed that he did the paper work to create two firms and appointed “dummy” directors for them. The central probe agency has filed two money laundering FIRs against Nirav Modi and his uncle and Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi to probe the alleged fraud in Punjab National Bank.
It has conducted a total of 251 country-wide searches in the case after it began the criminal probe against the accused in February. The total seizure and attachment of diamond, gold, precious and semi-precious stones and other movable and immovable assets in the case stand at Rs 7,664 crore.