Were Indian banks aware of Nirav Modi's changed status as NRI?

 Anand Adhikari   New Delhi     Last Updated: February 19, 2018  | 12:10 IST
Were Indian banks aware of Nirav Modi's changed status as NRI?

It is now clear that Nirav Modi has changed his status in the Indian documents from resident Indian to Non Resident Indian (NRI). This happened sometime last year. It is not known whether Indian banks, especially the Punjab National Bank, were aware of their borrower's status shifting to a NRI. All along, Modi was classified as Indian promoter of his borrowing companies that were issued the letter of undertakings (LoU). Many other banks also had a fund and non-fund based exposure to his other companies.

There are already reports of Modi taking up the citizenship or permanent resident status of some other country. Currently, Modi has companies in US, UK, Russia, UAE, Belgium, Armenia, etc. There is a suspicion that he must have siphoned off bank funds to a country where he plans to hole up.

The documents where Modi clearly states that he is a NRI have been filed with the Registrar of Companies.

A certified copy of the resolution by the shareholders of ANM Enterprises Pvt Ltd, a company owned by Modi, clearly mentions him as NRI with an address in Dubai, UAE. The address gives a flat no 2202, Al Shera Towers, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, UAE. This resolution is dated November 06, 2017. This begs the question of why he has given a Dubai address. Does Modi plan to take shelter in UAE?

Meanwhile, the Ministry Of External Affairs (MEA) has already suspended Modi's passport for four weeks. His wife is a US citizen and his brother Nishal is a Belgian national.

There is a further proof of his changed nationality in the ANM Enterprise Pvt Ltd filing which says Nirav Modi holds 9,990 shares of the company, which is 99.90 per cent of its total equity capital. There is a footnote which says 9,990 shares held by Nirav Modi were issued to him while he was resident in India.

Similarly, another company, Firestar International, that Modi was trying to take public to raise more funds, has classified him as NRI in financial year 2016-17. The filing for 2015-16 puts him as a promoter 'Resident in India' with some 6,17,52,055 shares with  51.32 per cent holding. Whereas the filing for 2016-17 classifies him as promoter in the NRI category with 6,17,52,055 shares with 49.92 per cent holding.

Nirav Modi also re-designated himself from director to a non-executive role during the year 2017. Was there a ready script - take up a new citizenship elsewhere and never return to India to repay the banks?

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