Amidst mounting problems for fugitive Diamantaire and PNB scam accused Nirav Modi, he has now threatened a UK court of killing himself, if he was extradited to India. These remarks by Nirav Modi come as Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot refused to grant him bail. Nirav Modi is lodged in a prison in London since he was arrested by Scotland Yard in March.
“He has said he will kill himself if his extradition is ordered, that in itself is the strongest motivation for someone to abscond,” said James Lewis, appearing for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government.
While the scales remain tilted against the fugitive billionaire, his journey from being the celebrity face of multiple jewellery brands to being wanted by Interpol is certainly one to ponder upon. Nirav Modi’s diamond boutique in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai had become the epicentre of one of the largest banking frauds detected in the country when he along with his uncle Mehul Chowksi had allegedly orchestrated the PNB Fraud Case. The case relates to deceiving the bank through fraudulent letters of undertaking and letters of credit worth 14,356.84 crores issued by the PNB. Nirav Modi has allegedly siphoned off Rs 13,500 crore from the PNB in connivance with his uncle Mehul Choksi and bank officials at PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai. On discovery, the bank had suspended 10 officers and had referred the matter to CBI for investigation, along with a warning for the other banks of the Modus Operandi used by the bank officials.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the government had seized assets worth Rs 1,300 crore belonging to Nirav Modi besides revoking his passport in February 2018. Nevertheless, he was able to travel in and out of Britain at least four times since his passport was cancelled by the Indian authorities.
Nonetheless for Nirav Modi, karma has certainly been hitting hard. Earlier a seaside bungalow of Nirav Modi worth 100 crores in Alibaug, Maharashtra was demolished by the authorities using explosives after a review into the permission given to Nirav Modi to construct a bungalow in Alibaug, district collector Vijay Suryawanshi found out that there were many violations in the order issued.
According to a report in the Economic Times, Indian agencies also plan to tighten the noose around, Nehal Modi one of the co-accused in the alleged Rs 13,570 crore fraud caused to Punjab National Bank to Belgian authorities so that they could proceed against him as per their law.
Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had left the country in January, a few weeks before the scam broke in media. The case against Modi and Choksi is registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) which allows for the confiscation and seizure of properties obtained from the laundered money. Nirav Modi and Mehul Choski were also found to be involved in money laundering. Hundreds of ‘shell companies’ were also found to be registered under the names of wife and relatives of Nirav Modi. These developments are also sure to further send shivers down the spine of other economic offenders like Vijaya Malaya, who have been absconding the law in foreign nations.