PNB scam: Noose tightens around Nirav Modi, DRI to move against fugitive diamantaire for duty evasion

After explaining his ‘inability’ to attend three summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the noose is tightening around diamantaire Nirav Modi. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) will initiate proceedings against Modi and his companies -- Firestar Diamond International, Firestar International Pvt Ltd., and Radhashir Jewellery Co Ltd. -- for a case registered against them in 2015, according to media reports.

The 2014-15 case against the diamantaire and his firms is for importing diamonds into the country availing of duty-free sanctions and is being alleged of using low quality diamonds to make jewellery for exports, the Mint reported. For the 2015 case, Modi will be prosecuted under the Customs Act and the Indian Penal Code, the Mint report said.

An Indian Express report mentions that it was able to access documents on the case which shows Modi had paid Rs 48 crore as a settlement. Irrespective of the settlement, sources told IE that the official settlement order left open option of initiating prosecution openings.

On 27 February, the ED had moved the court seeking an non-bailable warrat (NBW) against Modi. The agency had told the court that it had issued three summons to Modi to appear before it. "We issued three summonses to Choksi. He neither responded to those summonses nor appeared before the agency," special ED prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar had told the special court presided over by Judge M S Azmi here on 1 March, a PTI report said.

PNB scam: Noose tightens around Nirav Modi, DRI to move against fugitive diamantaire for duty evasion

Nirav Modi store. Courtesy: Facebook

A special court issued on Saturday non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in the alleged Rs 12,700 crore Punjab National Bank scam. The court, set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), issued the NBWs on applications filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), one of the agencies probing the bank fraud cases registered last month.

The ED had earlier issued summonses to Modi and Choksi, both key accused in the scam cases, asking them to appear before the central agency. However, the two diamond traders, who are said to have left the country before criminal cases were registered, had failed to appear before the ED, promoting the agency to move the PMLA court for issuance of NBWs against them, the PTI report said.

Modi is reportedly said to be hiding in Hong Kong, according to a report in the Times of India. The ED said this in a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court on Saturday, the report said.

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Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 09:29:40 IST

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