Maharashtra authorities to demolish fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi's Alibaug bungalow

Authorities will demolish the bungalow belonging to fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi situated in the coastal town of Alibag in Maharashtra after the Bombay High Court ordered to raze the illegal building, said media reports.

Raigad district collector Vijay Suryawanshi issued demolition orders after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) handed over the property to the district authorities in connection with the Rs 13,000 crore alleged Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, said a report on  CNN-News 18.

On 14 January, the Bombay High Court had questioned the ED request to stay the demolition order for Modi's illegal bungalow at Alibaug in the adjoining Raigad district.

Maharashtra authorities to demolish fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modis Alibaug bungalow

File image of Nirav Modi. News18.

A division bench of Chief Justice NH Patil and Justice NM Jamdar was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2009 by Shambhuraje Yuvakranti of the Akhil Bhartiya Maratha Seva Sangha on the issue.

The Raigad district collector had last month ordered demolition of 58 unauthorised structures, including one of Modi, built along the beach at Alibaug, a coastal town popular with weekend tourists. The demolition order was passed following rebuke from the high court for failing to initiate action against the illegal structures.

The ED had earlier this month filed an application before the high court, informing it that the said structure was attached by the agency as part of its money laundering probe against Modi. The agency in its application informed the court that the tribunal set under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had permitted it to attach the property long before the Raigad collector ordered its demolition.

According to ED, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sealed the property. The ED sought a stay on the Raigad collector's order of demolition and requested the court to give the agency a hearing. The bench, however, sought to know why the agency was seeking a stay on the demolition order.

"What is illegal needs to go. What is your problem with those structures that are illegal?" Chief Justice Patil said.

In December 2018, the Maharashtra government had informed the high court that it had ordered the demolition of Modi's illegal bungalow.

Government counsel advocate PB Kakade told a bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice MS Karnik that it had served demolition notices to another 58 private properties in the area constructed in violation of the state's rules and coastal zone norms.

He made the submissions in compliance with a previous order of the bench which had directed the government to submit details of action taken and pending litigation concerning the illegal private constructions along the beaches in Alibaug.

In October 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had attached assets worth Rs 637 crore of absconding jeweller Nirav Modi and his family, including two apartments in New York's iconic central park.

The agency said it has issued as many as five provisional orders, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), for attachment of assets in London, New York, bank balances in Singapore and other countries, a flat in Mumbai and diamond studded jewellery that was shipped to India from Singapore.

In February 2018, the Income Tax Department had provisionally attached 29 properties and 105 bank accounts of the diamond merchant, his family and firms as part of its tax evasion probe, officials said.

With PTI inputs



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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 15:45:47 IST

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