NEW DELHI: Billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi, who holds an Indian passport, left India on January 1, while his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, also left the country on same day. However, whether they travelled together has to be probed, CBI officials said.
Nirav Modi’s wife Ami, a US citizen, left on January 6 and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, left on January 4, the officials said.
PNB became suspicious only on January 16 when the accused companies, Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds, approached it with a request to issue Letters of Understanding (LoUs) for raising buyers’ credit. The bank, however, could not find any past entries in the system.
Nirav Modi, who is believed to be in Switzerland, was also present in a group photograph of Indian CEOs with PM Narendra Modi, issued by the Press Information Bureau, during the World Economic Forum on January 23, six days before the bank sent its first complaint against him to the CBI.
ED seizes assets worth Rs 5K cr
The ED conducted searches at properties linked to Modi and seized diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore.
ED officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five properties belonging to Modi and the other accused in Mumbai were sealed by the agency. It was now planning to move the Ministry of External Affairs with a plea to revoke his passport, they said.
Agency sleuths swooped down on at least 10 premises linked to the case. They searched Modi’s residence in Kurla, jewellery boutique in Kala Ghoda area, three company offices in Bandra and Lower Parel in Mumbai, three premises in Surat in Gujarat and Modi’s showrooms in Chanakyapuri and Defence Colony in Delhi. Diamond, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore have been seized during the searches, the officials said.
The ED filed the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after going through a CBI FIR registered early this month. It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.