The Enforcement Directorate on Monday moved a special court in Mumbai seeking extradition of diamond jeweller Nirav Modi in connection with the billion-dollar Punjab National Bank fraud. According to a PTI report, the extradition has been sought by the agency from the UK, Belgium and a few other countries.
The request has been made on the basis of a recent charge sheet filed by the ED against Nirav Modi and his family under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.The investigating agency filed its first chargesheet in over Rs 14,000 crore PNB fraud in May. In the chargesheet, the ED claimed that over Rs 6,400 crore of bank funds were allegedly laundered abroad to dummy companies by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his associates. Taking congnisance of the charge sheet, the Mumbai court last week issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Nirav Modi.
A total of 24 accused have been listed in the charge sheet, filed under section 45 of the PMLA, including Nirav Modi, his father, brother Neeshal Modi, sister Purvi Modi, brother-in-law Mayank Mehta and the designer jewellers' firms--Ms Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamonds R Us.
As Nirav Modi has been continuously changing his location across the globe, the extradition request has been hence made to multiple countries as part of its mandate under criminal provisions of the anti-money laundering Act.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being probed by various investigating agencies - CBI, ED and DRI - in the multi-crore banking fraud. The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each in connection with the case. Revenue intelligence agency DRI recently served an arrest warrant to absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi in a case of alleged customs duty evasion. The warrant was issued by a court in Surat in Gujarat after he failed to appear before it in connection with the case.
The probe agencies have issued multiple summons to Nirav Modi and his uncle but so far they refused to come citing health and business reasons. Both Modi and Choksi left the country days before the PNB filed its first complaint with the CBI at the beginning of this year.
Earlier this month, Indian government was informed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service that it can initiate extradition proceedings against Nirav Modi.