A special court in Mumbai issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi on Saturday, the key accused in the over Rs 11,400-crore PNB fraud case, PTI reported.
On Monday, the court, set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, had allowed the central agency's plea seeking issuance of Letters Rogatory (LRs) to six countries for obtaining information about the overseas businesses and assets of the diamantaire.
Special PMLA Court Judge MS Azmi had heard the arguments of the ED's special counsel Hiten Venegoankar on the agency's plea seeking issuance of the NBW against Nirav and Choksi on 27 February.
Venegoankar told the court that the ED registered a case against Nirav on 15 February and from that time issued three summonses to him to appear before the agency.
He said the summonses were issued on 15 February, 17 February and 22 February, asking him to appear before the ED.
The ED lawyer said Nirav did not appear before the agency for questioning and hence had sought issuance of an NBW against him.
Venegoankar said the first summons was issued to the billionaire jeweller on his last known address and his employees received it. The other two were issued via e-mail.
He said the agency received replies from Nirav for two summonses.
In response to the second summons, Nirav said he cannot appear before the agency owing to his business commitments. In reply to the third summons, the businessman raised the issue of his security, the ED counsel said.
"He has violated all the three summonses," Venegoankar had told the court and had requested the court to issue an open-ended NBW against Nirav Modi.
However, Nirav's advocate Agarwal told the court he should be heard before any decision is taken on issuing the NBW as it involved fundamental rights of his client.
Meanwhile, the agency filed an application seeking LRs to seven more countries - Malaysia, Armenia, France, China, Japan, Russia and Belgium - in connection with the case.
On 31 January, the CBI had registered an FIR against Nirav, his companies, and diamond jeweller Choksi in connection with the PNB fraud.
With inputs from PTI.
Updated Date: Mar 03, 2018 15:34 PM