Economy News-Daily Digest: 2 Key Updates
1. Enforcement Directorate set to use new ordinance to seize Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi assets
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will move a special court this week for “immediate confiscation” of attached assets valued at over Rs 3,500 crore of diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi under the recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.This is the second case under the new ordinance where the agency will approach the court to seek an official declaration to categorise both Modi and Choksi “fugitives”, based on its prosecution complaints- chargesheets-filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Modi and Choksi are wanted by multiple investigating agencies after State-owned Punjab National Bank complained against their companies, saying it had been cheated of Rs 13,600 crore through fraudulent letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit. Both left India in January, a few weeks before the scam came to light.
If the court declares Modi and Choksi fugitives under the new ordinance, their assets in India and abroad will be liable for confiscation and can be sold to meet the creditors’ claims, even before the trial begins.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, which was cleared by the Cabinet in April, empowers authorities to attach and confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters who flee the country. According to the ordinance, a Fugitive Economic Offender is a person who has an arrest warrant issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
Once the ED moves the court, Modi and Choksi will be given six weeks to present themselves at “a specified place at a specified time”. If they fail to do so, they will be declared “fugitive economic offenders”.
The probe agency has so far attached assets worth Rs 1,175 crore of Modi and Rs 2,400 crore of Choksi in India. This includes movable and immovable assets, diamonds, gold and jewellery.
2. PM Modi inaugurates World’s Largest Cellphone Factory Near Delhi
Samsung is all set to inaugurate its biggest mobile factory in the world in Noida. The opening will be attended by Indian PM Narendra Modi as well as his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in.
The unit will have a capacity of fabricating 120 million phones a year — ranging from low-end smartphones that cost under $100 to the company’s flagship S9 model. It will build 10 million phones a month, 70 per cent of which will be earmarked for domestic usage.
Already 40 crore Indians own smartphones, 32 crore people use broadband, the Prime Minister said in his address at the event. The 30 per cent phones for export will help place the country in the Global market. Last year, India overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China.