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India

Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi’s 13 luxury cars on auction

Thirteen luxury cars owned by fugitive diamantaires Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi went on online auction by the Metals & Scrap Trading Corporation, here on Thursday.

The auction is being carried out on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which had seized these vehicles from Modi and Choksi last year.

The vehicles include a silver Rolls Royce with a reserve price of Rs 1,33,00,000, a Porsche worth Rs 54,60,000, a red Mercedes Benz Rs 14,00,000, a white Mercedes Benz Rs 37,80,000 and a BMW Rs 9,80,000.

Besides, there are two Honda Brio, Toyota Innova, Honda CRV, Toyota Fortuner, Skoda Superb Elegance, Toyota Corolla Altis and Toyota Innova Crysta.

Of these 13 vehicles, the BMW and Toyota Innova Crysta belong to Choksi and the rest belong to Modi, his family and his group companies.

Prior to the auction, the prospective bidders were permitted physical inspection of the vehicles at various locations earlier this week.

A MSTC official said that by 4 p.m. the highest bidders shall be known and communicated to the ED which will take the final decision on awarding the successful bids.

The ED auction follows an order of the Special PMLA court permitting the sale of these cars.

IANS

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India

PNB Scam; Nirav Modi to remain in jail as UK court rejects bail plea  

The Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi suspecting he could “flee” Britain and “interfere with witnesses”, said sources.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot has granted the Metropolitan Police custody of the 48-year-old businessman till the next hearing on April 26.

Arbuthnot is the same judge who ordered the extradition of former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya last December.

The court order came after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing on behalf of the Indian authorities, argued against Nirav Modi’s bail. “There is a real risk that he could flee, interfere with witnesses, interfere with evidence,” the prosecution said.

Defence barrister Clare Montgomery said, “I (Nirav Modi) have been in the UK even before the case was registered in India. How can my bail be opposed saying I might flee the UK?”

Montgomery, who had earlier represented Vijay Mallya, countered to say that his client is not a “flight risk” as he has rented a flat in London in his own name and was trying to open a bank account when he was arrested.

Before the hearing began, the CPS had submitted a new file with additional evidence against Nirav Modi in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Nirav Modi was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities from Holborn in London on March 19 in connection with the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

He was sent to police custody and the next day, was produced before a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, who denied him bail and deferred the hearing for Friday.

Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of a few bank employees.

Both fled India before the details of the fraud emerged in January 2018. The ED on February 26, 2018 attached property worth Rs 147 crore of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the case.

On May 24 and 26, 2018, it filed charge sheets and sought non-bailable warrants against the duo.

The Interpol also issued a Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modi in July 2018 at the request of the ED and the CBI.

An extradition request against him had been pending before the UK authorities since September last year.

However, the businessman’s whereabouts remained a mystery as he was spotted in New York, Hong Kong and other cities at different times.

His arrest came days after The Telegraph newspaper in Britain published a report earlier this month about Nirav Modi being spotted in London.

The daily reported that he was living in a three-bedroom flat, occupying half the floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block.

The paper said that Nirav Modi was involved in a new diamond business, run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his apartment. The new business was incorporated in May 2018, it added.

IANS

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India

Enforcement Directorate to sell Nirav Modi’s 173 paintings and 11 cars

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon start the auction of 173 paintings and 11 vehicles of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi after it obtained permission from a special court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The development comes after Nirav Modi was arrested in London’s Holborn on Tuesday afternoon in connection with Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and was on Wednesday sent to Metropolitan Police custody till March 29 after being denied bail.

The ED will put the 173 paintings of the 48-year-old businessman on sale which are valued at Rs 57.72 crore and eleven vehicles that include a Rolls Royce, Porsche, Mercedes and Toyota Fortuner.

The auction is expected to be held on March 26.

The ED has till date attached properties worth Rs 4,765 crore of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group. Both left India days before the case came to light in January 2018.

The court has also issued a non-bailable warrant against his wife Ami Modi, a US national, for being the beneficiary of alleged purchase of two apartments at Central Park in New York using $30 million laundered money, which her husband had obtained fraudulently from thee PNB through Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs). The ED recently filed a supplementary charge sheet against Ami.

The court also allowed the Income Tax Department to sell another 68 paintings seized by it as part of its separate probe against the absconding diamantaire.

Nirav Modi’s extradition proceedings are likely to start soon.

Nirav Modi and Choksi are under probe by both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The ED filed money laundering cases against them and others on February 15, 2018 on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI.

IANS

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India

Nirav Modi’s arrest a ‘got-up match’; Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday refused to give any credit to the Narendra Modi-led government for the arrest of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi in London and termed it a “got-up match”.

“This is a ploy of the BJP. The credit must go to the London Telegraph journalist who exposed Nirav Modi. It is a got-up match. No credit goes to the BJP government,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat, Nabanna.

Calling the businessman’s arrest a “strike” by the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Trinamool Congress supremo said there will be a number of such “strikes” by the Centre during the general elections.

“You will see many such ‘strikes’ during the time of elections. You have seen a strike on Nirav Modi. There will be two-three similar strikes. All these are made up like a film script. They (Centre) have done this intentionally,” she said.

“You (the Centre) cannot see where he is hiding. Now a journalist is giving you information about where he is staying. Don’t we know what is going on behind the curtains? It has been exposed that the main thief is behind the curtain,” Banerjee said, making a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Banerjee said the BJP government’s ploys would not yield much benefit as its “expiry date” was already over.

“This government has no credibility. I have said before that its expiry date is already over. We do not need their ‘medicines’. We do not consume medicines that have passed their expiry dates,” she said.

“I do not give them any credit. There is another man. I do not want to mention his name. He is also there. They are not Indian citizens now. There are so many people with a lot of property,” she alleged.

Taking a swipe at Modi for calling himself the “chowkidar” (watchman) of the country, Banerjee said it was more important to be loyal to the nation and maintain peace than turning oneself from a “chai-wala to chowkidar”.

Fourteen months after he fled India, Nirav Modi was on Wednesday arrested in London on charges of defrauding on a huge loan taken from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), official sources said.

The police made the arrest seven days after the London Westminster Court issued an arrest warrant against the businessman, who left India days before the scam came to light in January 2018.

IANS

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India

Engaged with UK to extradite Nirav Modi soonest; MEA

India on Wednesday Awelcomed the arrest of bank fraud accused Nirav Modi in London and said it continues to actively follow up the matter with British authorities concerned to extradite him at the earliest.

“With a view to have Nirav Modi extradited to India at the earliest, the Government of India continues to actively follow up this matter with the authorities concerned in the UK,” an official spokesperson said in response to media queries regarding the arrest of Nirav Modi.

His arrest came days after a London court issued an arrest warrant against him in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition in a money laundering case.

“We welcome the fact that Nirav Modi has been arrested by the United Kingdom authorities pursuant to the arrest warrant issued by the Westminster Magistrate Court,” the spokesman said.

IANS

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India

Who let Nirav Modi escape, Priyanka Gandhi asks BJP

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for describing the arrest of absconding PNB fraud case accused Nirav Modi in London as an achievement, asking who let him flee.

“Is it an achievement? Who let them escape from the country?” she told media in Chandauli after visiting the family of Awadhesh Yadav, one of the 40 CRPF troopers killed in the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.

She said that her visit was not political. “…I had spoken to the father of the trooper some days after the attack. He had said to me that ‘you people come as we want to meet you’. Thus I had come. My visit to his house is not connected to politics.”

In the last leg of her three-day, 140-km-long poll campaign on the Ganga river from Prayagraj to Varanasi on a special motorboat, Gandhi, the Congress in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, also met the family members of CRPF troopers Vishal Pandey and Ramesh Yadav who were also among the killed.

Asked about her river ride campaign, she said, “It felt nice. And I feel that the organisation will be strengthened here and people will come to know that we believe in strong and new kind of politics.”

Asked when she is planning to kick off the second part of her Lok Sabha campaign, she said it will be “soon after Holi”.

Before going to Chandauli, Gandhi offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi – Modi’s the Lok Sabha constituency – for over half an hour.

It was her fourth temple visit since March 18, when she kicked off her river ride from Prayagraj.

On Monday, she visited the famous Hanuman Mandir in Prayagraj, followed by trips to the Sita Samahit Sthal temple in Bhadohi’s Sitamarhi and the Vindhyavashini temple in Vindhyachal on the second day of her campaign. She also offered a chadar at Kantit Sharif dargah on Tuesday.

She had arrived at the Vishwanath temple after deboarding from the motorboat at Dashavamedh ghat in Varanasi.

Reaching Ramnagar village, the ancestral village of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, in Varanasi via road from Chunar in Mirzapur, where she had made a night halt on Tuesday, Gandhi then went by boat to Assi ghat where she held discussions with the fishermen community.

She also paid floral tributes to the former Prime Minister at Shastri Chowk and visited his residence.

A minor scuffle broke out between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party workers after the latter raised pro-Modi slogans.

Gandhi later condemned the violence.

“When I was coming to Varanasi, few people raised slogans for the BJP… then people slapped them. We don’t believe in such kind of politics. The Congress workers had been beaten by the Britishers. We took all the pain and didn’t raise our hand (in return) but only tried to bring the truth,” she said.

She also accused Modi of not fulfilling any of the eight promises made to the people of the city, citing the BJP’s manifesto for Varanasi in 2014.

“This politics of advertisements is easy and it can be done by anyone,” she said.

Gandhi, before leaving Chunar in the morning, had also accused the BJP of systematically attacking every democratic institution in the country and advised the Prime Minister to “stop thinking that people are fools and understand that they see through all his antics”.

She also said that she was not afraid.

“Even if anything is done, and we are harassed, we will not feel afraid. We will continue our fight against them. The more we are harassed, the stronger will be our fight,” she said.

Gandhi, who was followed by Congress workers raising slogans like “Gali gali me shor hai, chowkidar chor hai” and “Dahan karne Modi ki Lanka, aa gai behen Priyanka”, also seem to have struck a chord with locals, many of whom who pointed out her resemblance to her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Sanjay Kumar said, “Her arrival augurs a change. People are looking for a new ideology. Now people want to get away from the politics of temple and mosque.”

“We have felt helpless in the last five years, we feel cheated by the government,” he added.

Shahnawaz told IANS, “The BJP has not lived up to our expectations. We see a hope in Priyanka Gandhi and the Congress.”

IANS

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India

Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi arrested in London

Fourteen months after he fled India, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was on Wednesday arrested in London on charges of defrauding on a huge loan taken from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), official sources said.

Police made the arrest seven days after the London Westminster Court issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi who left India days before the scam came to light in January 2018.

He will be produced before a court later in the day.

The Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modi in July 2018 at the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The businessman’s whereabouts were a mystery as he had been spotted in New York, Hong Kong and other cities. Along with his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group, Nirav Modi left the country before the CBI formally started investigating the PNB scam.

The ED had on May 24 and 26 last year filed chargesheets against both men. Non-bailable warrants were also issued against them.

The development came days after the The Telegraph newspaper in Britain claimed that Modi was spotted in London.

Accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, Nirav Modi was living in a three-bedroom flat, occupying half the floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, The Telegraph reported.

The report also claimed Nirav Modi was involved in a new diamond business, run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his apartment. The new business was incorporated in May 2018, it said.

An extradition request against him had been pending before the UK authorities since September last year.

The ED on February 26 attached Rs 147 crore worth of property of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the PNB case.

IANS

 

Categories
World

UK court has issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi 

A UK court has issued an arrest warrant against fugitive Indian diamantaire Nirav Modi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, confirmed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday.

According to the ED, the Westminster Court issued the arrest warrant on March 13.

The development came days after the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper claimed that Modi was spotted in London, leading to the Congress slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for its “failure” to bring the fugitive diamantaire to justice while he apparently thrived elsewhere.

Accused in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, Nirav Modi is living openly in a three-bedroom flat, occupying half the floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, The Telegraph had reported.

The report also claimed Nirav Modi was involved in a new diamond business, run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his apartment. The new business was incorporated in May 2018, said the report.

The Interpol had issued a red corner notice against Nirav Modi in July 2018 on the request of the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

An extradition request against him has been pending before the UK authorities since last September.

The ED on February 26 attached Rs 147 crore properties of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the PNB fraud case.

IANS

Categories
India World

‘Vijay Mallya case a template for Nirav Modi extradition’

India’s securing of extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya offers “a template” for a similar outcome in the Nirav Modi case, a renowned London legal firm specialising in extradition cases said on Tuesday.

“Further to the Vijay Mallya case, India now has a template to refer to when dealing with the extradition procedure of Nirav Modi from the UK. The good news is that the UK’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid, has already set things in motion, by agreeing to the extradition request,” Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder and Senior Partner at Zaiwalla & Co. LLP, said in a statement.

Zaiwalla, a prominent lawyer of Indian descent, however, noted that the process could be delayed if the absconding diamantaire, who along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, fled India after defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,000 crore, has applied for asylum in Britain.

In this case, the extradition proceedings are not likely to begin until the asylum application has been rejected, he said.

Zaiwalla suggested that the Indian government’s next step should be to “make a formal written representation to the relevant asylum department at Home Office setting out the grounds why Nirav Modi should not be granted asylum” as he faces allegation of fraud in India.

The next steps after Nirav Modi’s asylum application is rejected will echo the Vijay Mallya case proceedings – starting from being directed to Westminster Magistrate, taken into provisional custody, applying for bail, and then the court will hear his plea, he said.

Once the court rules for his extradition, the Home Secretary will be expected to once again sign the order for compliance.

“At this stage, the case looks straight forward,” Zaiwalla said, but cautioned that complications can only arise if Nirav Modi has acquired any European or other international citizenship.

“In such cases, there might be a long battle ahead, subject to various international and extraterritorial legalities involved.”

On Nirav Modi now reportedly operating another diamond business from Soho in Central London, he said that this would imply the diamantaire had secured a National Insurance Number – a form of tax reference for operating a business/working in the UK.

Noting that this comes as there is an Interpol red notice – to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition – against him, Zaiwalla said that such notice is not an international arrest warrant, “but merely a provisional request to detain an individual” which is purely optional for the country concerned.

IANS

 

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India

PNB scam; Nirav Modi’s wife Ami named in ED chargesheet

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has named fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi’s wife Ami Modi in a supplementary chargesheet in connection with its ongoing probe into over Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case, said informed sources.

The agency filed the chargeseet in a special Mumbai court charging Ami, a US national, for being the beneficiary of alleged purchase of two apartments at Central Park in New York using $30 million laundered money, which her husband had obtained fraudulently from PNB through Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).

The chargesheet was filed on February 28, he said.

It is alleged that the amount was routed through Ami’s HSBC Bank accounts traced by the agency, according to reports.

These apartments are part of Nirav Modi’s worth Rs 637 crore foreign properties the ED had seized in October last year.

According to agency officials, the apartments were purchased in the name of The Ithaca Trust. One of the properties in Central Park South, New York, was in the name of Central Park Real Estate LLC, a Firestar Group company. In 2018, it was transferred to the Trust.

The alleged beneficiary of The Ithaca Trust is Ami and her children and the settler of the said trust was Nirav Modi’s sister Purvi Modi, a Belgian national.

The move is seen as a step to tighten noose around Nirav Modi, who has now surfaced in London where he is believed to be living for several months now.

The agency is also reportedly looking to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Ami. Interpol has already issued an RCN against Nirav Modi, his brother Neeshal, Purvi and his executive Subhash Parab.

Nirav Modi fled India in January 2018 days before the PNB scam broke. The businessman’s whereabouts have remained a mystery since he has been “seen” in New York, Hong Kong and other parts of the world. He, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group, left the country before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the PNB scam.

The ED had on May 24 and 26 last year filed chargesheets against both. Non-bailable warrants have also been issued against them.

IANS

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India

Nirav Modi tracked down to London, Congress slams Centre

With billionaire Nirav Modi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, tracked down to London, the Congress on Saturday slammed the Centre for its “failure” to bring back the fugitive diamantaire to justice while he apparently thrived elsewhere.

The opposition’s attack came soon after the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper claimed that Nirav Modi has been spotted in London.

Hitting out at the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a video message, “Today, the fugitive diamantaire ‘chota Modi’ Nirav Modi has been traced to London — living a luxurious life in a Rs 75 crore flat and wearing a jacket worth 10,000 British Pound.”

“It is right Modiji (Narendra Modi), first rob Rs 23,000 crore from the banks; escape the country without any problem and then ridicule the investigative agencies like the CBI and the ED.

“Impossible is possible under Modi. It seems that Modiji is running Bank Fraudster Settlement Company. In five years Rs 1 lakh crore has been robbed by the fugitives and you were unable to catch them.

“You promised to bring back Rs 80,000 crore black money but instead you allowed Rs 1 lakh crore to be robbed from the banks. It is because Modi hai to mumkin hai (Impossible is possible, under Modi),” he said.

Earlier, the video released by The Telegraph newspaper showed Nirav Modi walking the London streets. He wore a changed look — with handle bar moustache and long hair.

He is seen avoiding every question posed at him by the reporter, saying “no comment”.

The Indian intelligence agencies had already provided inputs about this new disguise of the fugitive billionaire

The newspaper report also stated that Nirav Modi against whom a Red Corner Notice has been issued by the Interpol, has been living in the city’s West End area and has even started a new diamond business.

An extradition request against Nirav Modi has been pending since last September before the UK authorities.

On February 26, the Enforcement Directorate attached properties of Nirav Modi and his associate companies to the tune of Rs 147 crore in connection with its ongoing Punjab National Bank fraud probe.

Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are under probe by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED. The ED filed money laundering cases against them and others on February 15 on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI.

The ED has till date attached properties worth Rs 4,765 crore of Choksi and Nirav Modi.

IANS

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India

Nirav Modi’s beach bungalow blown-up with controlled blast

Authorities here on Friday carried out a controlled blast to raze the luxurious beach bungalow of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi, one of the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank scam, official sources said.

Over 100 dynamite sticks were strategically placed within and outside the 33,000 sq. feet bungalow near the Kihim Beach, and the first of the blast took place at 11.15 a.m. amidst tight security.

Few days ago, detonators were fixed at various points on the bungalow to carry out the controlled-blast and bring it down in a single-shot.

On January 25, the collectorate had initiated the demolition process using traditional methods of bulldozers, excavators and other such manually-operated equipment, but it proved to be a slow and tedious process.

IANS

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Business

PNB scam; DRT summons to Nirav Modi; Union Bank also a party 

The Mumbai DRT has summoned absconding diamantaire Nirav D. Modi, the public sector Union Bank of India and others at 12 noon on March 12 in a case filed by the Punjab National Bank (PNB) pertaining to the Rs 14,000-crore fraud.

The PNB has filed the case before the Mumbai Debt Recovery Tribunal-I to recover Rs 232,15,92,639.06 (@Rs 232 crore).

This is the first time the name of a public sector bank has appeared in direct connection with the PNB scam which was admitted to in February 2018.

A questionnaire sent by IANS to UBI seeking details and extent of its exposure in this matter elicited no response on Tuesday.

However, last month, the State Bank of India (SBI) moved to recover outstanding loans of Rs 405 crore from Mehul Choksi, who is among the prime accused in the PNB scam along with his nephew Nirav Modi. (IANS report – Jan 23, 2019).

Vide the summons notice issued in prominent Mumbai media on February 5, Modi, UBI and others have been directed to submit written statements in the matter to the PNB and warned that if they fail to respond to the summons, it would result in an ex-parte hearing and decision in the matter.

Interestingly, besides the UBI, the PNB has named one of its own subsidiaries – PNB Investment Services Ltd New Delhi and Mumbai – as parties in the matter.

Apart from Modi and UBI, the other parties named in the summons are: Firestar Diamond International Pvt Ltd and its six branches in Mumbai, plus one in Surat, Gujarat.

There are other Modi group companies like Firestar International Ltd at 13 locations, including two in Surat, one in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and nine in Mumbai, and Radashir Jewellery Co Pvt Ltd Mumbai.

Through the DRT-I summons, all parties have also been directed to refrain from selling, transferring, leasing or disposing off any secured or other assets in any manner and to disclose particulars of all properties and other assets.

Though Modi’s current whereabouts are not clear, the summons has been served at his “known addresses” – at Grosvenor House in south Mumbai and at Al Shera Towers, Behzadi Ferdows in Dubai.

Modi, along with his uncle Choksi, their relatives, other company officials and several top PNB serving or retired middle and top-ranking executives have been booked in the massive scam arising out of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking issued by the PNB’s Brady House Branch in Mumbai.

According to initial investigations by PNB, its core banking system was bypassed by two staffers who issued LoUs to foreign branches of other banks like UBI, Axis Bank and Allahabad Bank using the SWIFT route, but the extent of their exposure was unclear.

In November 2018, Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate B.H. Kapadia had ordered Modi and the group companies (Firestar Diamond International Pvt Ltd, Firestar International Ltd and Radashir Jewellery Co Ltd) to appear before him on November 15.

He was later declared a “proclaimed offender” in the duty evasion case filed by the Gujarat Customs Department.

IANS