Fearing mob-lynching, Nirav Modi says cannot return to India
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, a key accused in Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case, cannot return to India as he is afraid of getting lynched and is being compared to demon ‘Ravan’.
While arguing before Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) application to declare Modi a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal said that his client cannot return to India as he is afraid of getting lynched.
Agarwal said that the diamond trader had responded to the emails sent by the investigating agencies and expressed his inability to return due to security threats.
“In a letter addressed to both the CBI and the ED, Modi had stated that he was not able to join the probe because of security threats (in India) from private persons, the families of those who have been detained (in the PNB case), landlords, the creditors who have not been paid and the customers whose jewellery was taken away by the ED,” Agarwal said.
“My 50-ft tall effigy was burnt in India. There was evidence of a mob lynching and I was being compared with ‘Ravan’. I have been projected as evil and being made the poster boy of the bank fraud,” Agarwal read Nirav Modi’s reply.
Agarwal also claimed that Modi cannot be declared a fugitive as various legal requirements stipulated by the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act have not been met by the investigating agency.
However, countering Nirav Modi’s claim, ED said, “If he felt there were security threats then he should have filed a police complaint.” The central probe agency also said that these points are irrelevant to the case. The ED further claimed that Nirav Modi had refused to join the probe despite acknowledging mails and summons issued to him and that he doesn’t want to return to India.
It is to be noted that Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, in connivance with certain bank officials, allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs 13,500 crore through issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs). These LoUs were allegedly issued in a fraudulent manner by a Mumbai branch of the PNB to the group of companies belonging to Modi since March 2011 till the case came to light.