Nehal Deepak Modi, who has been charged with destruction of evidence in the Rs 13,000 crore scam at Punjab National Bank (PNB), is now on the Interpol's 'red notice' watchlist. Nehal is brother to diamantaire Nirav Modi, the key accused in the case, who is currently lodged in a jail in Britain as India fights for his extradition.
The red notice, or Red Corner Notice (RCN), is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant. Significantly, the RCN is not an international arrest warrant - Interpol cannot compel any of its 192 member countries to arrest an individual who is the subject of such a notice. But, if Nehal is arrested, India will be able to push for his extradition.
Interpol said the RCN against 40-year-old Belgian national has been issued on charges of money laundering brought by the Enforcement Directorate. The ED has alleged that Nehal "knowingly and intentionally" helped his brother divert money raised by defrauding PNB to shell corporations and destroyed key evidence.
The ED further stated in its 14,000-page prosecution complaint filed before the special PMLA court in Mumbai last year that Nehal "dealt with proceeds of crime" and tried to hide 50 kg gold from Firestar Diamond FZE, Dubai after the CBI registered a criminal case against Nirav and other accused in February 2018. On the basis of these charges, the probe agency had requested the Interpol to issue an RCN against him.
The investigations revealed that Nehal was not only the director of now-defunct Firestar Diamonds USA but was also involved with the Ithaca Trust, an entity set up to buy real estate for Nirav after the funds raised through Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by PNB were diverted into shell companies. The chargesheet claims that in 2017 Nirav bought property worth $25 million in the US in the name of Ithaca Trust, which lists his children as beneficiaries.
Furthermore, the accused are believed to have communicated with their aides and the dummy companies - in places such as Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, USA, Barbados and many others - through a secure server located in UAE. This server, which contained details about the illegal LoUs from PNB, was allegedly destroyed by Nehal when the scam was exposed.
While the noose is tightening around Nehal, the older sibling has been remanded to custody at Wandsworth prison in London till September 19. Nirav was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on March 19. The Interpol had previously issued an RCN against him as well.
Since his arrest, Modi has repeatedly attempted to get bail but has been rejected multiple times.