PNB Fraud case: Interpol issues Red Notice against Nirav Modi
Indian agencies are one step closer to nabbing Nirav Modi, the prime accused in a Rs. 13,400 crore fraud, after the Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against him. This will restrict his movement greatly: member countries can now detain or arrest Modi whenever he's seen. Modi's Indian passport was revoked as far back as February, but he's purportedly traveling on it till now.
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 to Rs. 13,400cr as the probe progressed. Modi and Choksi left India weeks before news broke in February. Responding to multiple summons, both have refused to return.
Revocation of passport and the Interpol's intervention
On February 23, India revoked Modi and Choksi's passports. The foreign ministry updated the status in its database and informed CBI, which told Interpol. Interpol then issued a 'diffusion' against Modi to keep member countries informed of wanted persons. His status was updated in Interpol's database, CBI had confirmed. But a diffusion doesn't mandate arrest, a condition that presumably facilitated his international travels.
How will a Red Notice help India's probe?
A Red Notice is "the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant," says the US Department of Justice. Names of people on Red Notices are put on lookout lists in member countries. When someone is located by police, that country informs Interpol, which intimates the country that sought the notice (in this case, India). India can then request his provisional arrest or formally request extradition.
Agencies in India have attached Modi's assets worth Rs. 3,000cr
In India, investigators have provisionally attached Modi's assets worth at least Rs. 3,000cr, including properties, bank-accounts, luxury cars, and investments in shares of companies. The country has also introduced a new law - the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance - which provides for confiscation of assets without conviction. The ED is meanwhile planning to file extradition requests with multiple countries.
Where is Modi now?
Last month, reports claimed Modi had fled to Brussels, two days after he reportedly reached the UK for "political asylum." ED officials claim he has six passports, believed to include a Singapore as well as a Morocco passport, and is using all six.