Authorities have started the demolition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi's bungalow in Alibaug area of Maharashtra. Nirav Modi, along with his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, has been accused of defrauding state-owned Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,700 crore. The Raigad district collectors' office is demolishing Nirav Modi's mansion after receiving the Bombay High Court order against the illegal structure.
The bungalow was part of the properties attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Though the ED had objected to the demolition, the HC gave a go ahead to the Raigad district collector to raze the building. After receiving the order, the police personnel as well as the administrative staff reached the bungalow located on the Kihim beach in Alibaug.
Media reports say this was the same mansion where Nirav Modi used to host lavish parties of high-profile people. Nirav Modi's belongings were last week moved before scheduling the construction for Friday.
The villa initially only had to be constructed on 376 square metres but Modi went on to construct 1081 square metres, blatantly violating the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) as well as local administration's permits. Nirav Modi had not only carried out illegal construction in the CRZ zone but also created a garden outside his villa and between the beach, which was government land falling in CRZ zone. He had converted to area into a private beach with sand dredged from the beach dumped into the garden. Potted plants and palm trees were planted in the area which had a gate attached to the villa's netted boundary and then directly accessing the beach.
The Raigad district collector Vijay Suryanwanshi had filed an affidavit on December 6, informing the Bombay High court about the demolition order. In 2011, the then district collector had issued an order stating that the farmhouse existed since 1986 so there was no violation. The present collector Vijay Suryavanshi reviewed the order and found several violations following which the order has been issued.