The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has clarified that jeweller Nirav Modi was not part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official delegation to Davos, and said that the diamantaire was present at the event in his personal capacity.
At a press briefing, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that that the group photo which included the prime minister and Nirav Modi, among other Indian CEOs, was just an "impromptu" event.
The photograph had raked up a controversy on Thursday. While the Congress alleged links between Nirav Modi and the prime minister, and AAP has questioned the jeweller's presence at the event.
At Friday's briefing, Kumar also said that the suspension of Nirav Modi's passport, his movement will be restricted to the country he's currently in.
I can say with confidence that this gentleman is not in touch with any of our officials & frankly at this stage we are not aware about his location: Raveesh Kumar, MEA #NiravModi #PNBFraudCase pic.twitter.com/1fMUamd1pg
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2018
The external affairs ministry had earlier on Friday suspended with immediate effect the passports of the jewellery designer and his maternal uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi for four weeks.
The ministry gave them one week to respond why their passports should not be revoked. "If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation," the ministry had said in a statement.
The ministry had said that the passport issuing authority took the step following the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
They have been asked to respond within one week why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED on Thursday moved separate applications to the external affairs ministry, seeking the revocation Nirav Modi's passport as well as that of his maternal uncle and his Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain. Both are accused in the Rs 280 crore bank fraud case.
Updated Date: Feb 16, 2018 18:31 PM