Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against absconding billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi who is allegedly the brain behind the over US$ 2 billion scam in Punjab National Bank.
Modi, along with his wife Ami, a US citizen, brother Nishal a Belgian, and uncle Mehul Choksi, Gitanjali groups promoter, had fled the country before the bank approached the CBI with a complaint against his companies for allegedly cheating through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).
In its Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued against a fugitive, the Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.
The Interpol has listed “money laundering charges,” levelled by Enforcement Directorate (ED), in the RCN, they said.
Modi along with his wife, brother and uncle, all accused in the CBI FIRs in the case, had left the country in the first week of January, weeks before country’s biggest banking scam surfaced.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have refused to return India to join probe citing business and health reasons among others, they said.
The CBI had tried to track the movements of Nirav Modi through a diffusion notice issued through the Interpol on February 15, but it had limited success as only the United Kingdom responded to the CBI request, they said.
Nirav Modi managed to travel across several countries even after information about his passport being revoked by the Indian government was flashed in the Interpol central database on February 24, the CBI had earlier said.
“After the passport was revoked/cancelled by the External Affairs Ministry, we had updated this information in the diffusion notice. The information that Nirav Modi’s passport has been revoked was provided in the Interpol central database, available to all the member countries, on February 24,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal had said.
He had said that after the “diffusion” notice was issued by the Interpol on the request of the CBI, the agency followed it up with six countries where Nirav Modi was suspected to have fled. The agency requested these countries to share information about his whereabouts and movements.
The agency sent these reminders to the Interpol coordination agency of the United Kingdom on April 25, May 22, May 24 and May 28.
Similar reminders were also sent to the agencies of the US, Singapore, Belgium, the UAE and France, they said.
The case pertains to cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit worth over USD 2 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore) by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both absconding since the first week of January.