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Mumbai: Court orders release of Nirav Modi’s properties worth Rs 1,000 cr to PNB

The bank had last month sought release and restoration of properties belonging to Modi and his companies to recover debt owed to it. It had said that these properties were mortgaged or given as guarantees by Modi-linked companies to secure loans.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
August 15, 2021 3:07:37 am
Nirav Modi newsNirav Modi is a fugitive Indian businessman. (File)

A special court on Friday directed the release of certain properties linked to diamantaire Nirav Modi – valued at around Rs 1,000 crore – to Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The bank had last month sought release and restoration of properties belonging to Modi and his companies to recover debt owed to it. It had said that these properties were mortgaged or given as guarantees by Modi-linked companies to secure loans.

The court on Friday said that these properties shall be released in favour of PNB through the official liquidator after obtaining an undertaking as per procedure.

In similar orders passed in June, a special court had allowed restoration of properties worth Rs 5,600 crore belonging to businessman Vijay Mallya to recover due loan amount he owed to a consortium of banks. Some of these properties have been since sold.

In Modi’s case, he was declared a fugitive economic offender by a special court as per the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, based on an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in 2019. As per the Act, the court can confiscate properties of the offender attached by the ED.

The PNB and a consortium of banks had then sought for certain properties to not be confiscated claiming that they were mortgaged or given as guarantees by Modi and his companies for loans obtained from the banks.

The PNB had then said that it had obtained a decree of recovery on those from the Debt Recovery Tribunal to recover debt from Modi. These properties were then exempted by the court from confiscation.

In its recent plea filed last month, PNB had sought for these properties to be restored to the bank. It had said that PNB and consortium members had since 2013 granted loans to Modi and his companies and required them to be released to recover losses. Special Judge V C Barde had allowed to release of certain properties attached by the ED directing that an appropriate inventory and list be drawn before handing them over.

Previously, paintings belonging to Modi attached by the ED were auctioned through the income tax department for recovery of losses. Modi is currently facing extradition proceedings in the UK.

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