New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs had cancelled the passport of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, the main accused in the USD 2-billion PNB fraud case. Besides, there is no means to verify his travels, the government told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Nirav Modi’s passport was revoked as per the provisions of “Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967, on February 23, 2018,” stated Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. When asked if Nirav Modi had travelled to foreign countries on a revoked Indian passport, Muraleedharan noted, “The ministry has no means to verify the travels, if any, of Mr Nirav Modi and the passport used for such travels by him”.
The main accused in the PNB scam includes Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the two diamond jewellery businessmen who allegedly duped and defrauded the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank in Mumbai for an amount of USD 2 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore) in purported connivance with bank officials. An investigation in this regard is being undertaken by multiple investigation agencies, including the ED, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, CBI, Department of Revenue Intelligence and the Income Tax department.
Notably, Modi is currently being held in judicial custody in the UK pending his extradition trial sought by India in PNB fraud and money laundering case. He was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on March 19 and has been in prison since. During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Modi was the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.
Under UK law, Modi is expected to be produced before the court every four weeks, with another remand hearing expected before the July 29 case management hearing currently fixed in the court’s calendar. (With inputs from PTI)