After fresh-speculation on whereabouts, Nirav Modi flees to Brussels: Reports
Days after reports surfaced that embattled diamantaire Nirav Modi is in UK, he's understood to have fled to Brussels. In fact, he's apparently traveling in and out of UK freely. However, officials suspect he might be using a Singapore passport, which makes getting an Interpol red corner notice against him difficult. Modi, the main accused in an alleged Rs. 13,400cr-fraud, fled India in January.
How Modi and uncle pulled off India's biggest banking fraud
During 2011-17, Modi, owner of the Nirav Modi brand of jewels, and his uncle Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali Gems chairman, connived with PNB officials to get loans issued fraudulently. The scam, initially estimated at Rs. 280cr, grew significantly as the probe progressed. Modi and Choksi left India weeks before news broke in February. Responding to multiple summons, both have refused to return.
Assets worth Rs. 700cr have already been attached
Investigating agencies have raided several premises belonging to them, questioned numerous officials associated to them and PNB, and arrested many. The ED has provisionally attached Modi's assets worth Rs. 700cr, including several properties, bank accounts, luxury cars, and investments in shares of public companies. Meanwhile, Modi has been globetrotting, it's believed- he has been spotted in Dubai, Belgium, and Hong Kong prior to London.
PNB officials were aware of the fraud, CBI claims
Probing PNB's role, CBI concluded officials were aware of the fraud, since the bank claimed SWIFT messages couldn't be issued without authorization. CBI referred to a 2016 case where PNB Dubai extended $6.36mn in buyer's credit against fraudulent LoUs. In August'16, RBI had asked all banks to report such incidents, but PNB responded only this February, after Modi's scam was discovered.
Amid Modi probe, India brings in new law for economic-offenders
As details of the scam unfolded, India brought in a new law - the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance - which provides for confiscation of assets without conviction. The provisions will apply to absconding economic offenders who refuse to return, persons against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for a scheduled offense, and wilful bank loan defaulters with outstanding debt of over Rs. 100cr.
Modi using non-Indian passport may cause a hindrance
Monday, CBI requested Interpol for a red notice against Modi and brother Nishal. He's believed to have traveled to Brussels Tuesday or Wednesday, but Indian officials are unsure if he's using a Singapore passport, a fake Indian one or something else. "If he's on a Singapore passport, India can't do anything as the non-bailable warrant is against his Indian passport," a source told TOI.