Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has cited suspension of his passport as the reason for his inability to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, PTI reported. Interestingly, Ministry of External Affairs had suspended Nirav Modi’s passport on the request of ED so as to force his return to India. The billionaire diamond merchant was summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED to appear before it yesterday. However, agency has now asked him to appear before it on 26 February in Mumbai. He is flying between various international destinations since the news about the fraud at PNB came into light.
Even pending business issues are also being cited as reason by Nirav Modi for his failing to appear before ED on Thursday, The Indian Express reported citing unidentified sources. Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi and co-accused in the PNB scam has also been issued summon by the agency. He may also be issued fresh summons in case he too doesn’t appear before ED today, The Indian Express report said citing same sources.
On Thursday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted additional raids on companies of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and seized shares, mutual funds and luxury cars with a worth over Rs 100 crore. The raids by the agency were launched on 15 February and prolonged for the eight continuous day on Thursday.
Concrete plan asked from Nirav Modi
Meanwhile, PNB on Thursday asked Nirav Modi to submit a concrete plan so that all the liabilities are cleared on time, Business Standard reported. Nirav Modi had acquired fake Letters of Understanding (LoUs) worth Rs 11,400 crore violating the existing Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). On 14 February, PNB had notified the stock exchanges about the fraud stating that fake LoUs have been issued by some of its employees to benefit some of account holders at its Brady Street branch in Mumbai. Thereafter, names of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both high profile diamond czars came into light leading to investigation by the government.