The Interpol has informed Indian investigation agencies that absconding diamond jeweller Nirav Modi travelled four times between three countries as recently as March on an Indian passport that was revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on February 24, sources have told The Indian Express.
In a June 5 letter to Indian agencies, Interpol said Nirav travelled between United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong on his Indian passport between March 15 and March 31. According to Interpol, he travelled four times on that passport — on March 15, March 28, March 30 and March 31.
On February 24, the MEA revoked the passports of Nirav and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali Group, after they failed to respond to a February 16 notice issued by the Ministry, asking them to show-cause why their passports should not be impounded or revoked. READ | How to bring back a fugitive
This was after they came under the scanner of multiple investigation agencies following state-owned Punjab National Bank’s complaint against their companies, saying it had been cheated of an estimated Rs 13,500 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and foreign letters of credit (FLCs).
The passport revocation order can be challenged in Indian courts. But it is not known if Nirav and Choksi have done that.
According to norms, once a revocation order is issued by the government, it has to be communicated to the authority concerned at an airport or any other point of embarkation or immigration, and to the passport authority.
Emails to the official spokesperson of MEA did not elicit any response.
The Interpol letter to Indian authorities is in response to a diffusion notice issued by CBI, requesting the Interpol to track Nirav after it registered a case of alleged fraud against him in January.
Nirav, his wife Ami (a US citizen), brother Neeshal (a Belgian national) and uncle Choksi fled the country in the first week of January, weeks before the scam broke. While Nirav is in the UK, Choksi is learnt to be in the US. According to sources, Nirav also applied for a permanent residency permit in Singapore in mid-January.
Earlier this week, the CBI moved Interpol to issue Red Corner Notices against Nirav and Choksi. Nirav’s presence in the UK was confirmed by members of the British delegation led by Minister of State for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams, who held deliberations with MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi on June 11.