Nirav Modi declared as a fugitive economic offender

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused in PMC Bank scam

While hearing the plea of the Enforcement Directorate, a special court has declared Nirav Modi a fugitive economic offender. He is a diamond businessman who is amongst the key accused in the USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud case.

He joins the liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya in the list of the fugitive economic offenders. Both have been declared fugitives under provisions of the Fugitives Economic Offenders (FEO) Act, which was constituted in August 2018. Judge V C Barde, a special PMLA court, declared Nirav Modi a fugitive economic offender after hearing extensive arguments of lawyers of the diamantaire and the ED (Enforcement Directorate).

Nirav Modi urged the court to set aside the ED’s plea  of declaring him a fugitive economic offender

Nirav Modi had earlier urged the court to set aside the ED’s plea of declaring him a Fugitive Economic Offender. Modi along with his uncle Mehul Choksi are the main accused in the PNB scam. Both uncle-nephew flee the country before details of the fraud came to light in January 2018. Nirav was arrested in London in March 2019. His extradition process to bring him in India is pending.

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The Central agency filed an application in July 2018 under the newly enacted FEO Act to declare the Diamond businessman a fugitive economic offender. The lawyer of Nirav Modi earlier claimed that the Enforcement Directorate was relying on statements and evidence-based on Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act to seek remedy under the FEO Act. The lawyer said this was not permissible under the FEO Act.

As per the ED, Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, in collaboration with certain bank officials, allegedly cheated Punjab National Bank to the tune of 14,000 crores. Nirav allegedly issued fake Letters of Undertaking.  These Letter of Undertakings were allegedly issued in a fraudulent manner by a PNB Branch of Mumbai to the group of companies belonging to Nirav Modi from March 2011 to the time when the scam came into the limelight.

A person can be declared an FEO if he/she has been issued a warrant for an offense involving an amount of Rs 100 crore or more and he/she has left the country.

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