The Deposit Trust whose details were revealed in the Pandora Papers investigation by The Indian Express and in which Purvi Modi, sister of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, is a settlor, has offered to remit about Rs 275 crore lying in its Swiss bank account to the Indian Government, sources said.
A settlor is an individual or party who establishes the trust by placing a particular asset.
Purvi Modi’s offer, furnished as part of her full disclosure requirement as a condition for her pardon, is being considered by the Government, sources told The Indian Express.
On October 4, The Indian Express, as part of its investigation into the Pandora Papers, had reported that a month before Nirav Modi fled India in January 2018, Purvi Modi set up Brookton Management Ltd in the British Virgin Islands to act as a corporate protector of The Deposit Trust formed through the Trident Trust Company, Singapore.
Purvi, in the incorporation form for BVI companies, declared that the source of funds to be infused into Brookton were salary and her personal earnings as the creative director of Firestar, the firm accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank (PNB) through fraudulent letters of undertaking (LOUs).
However, Purvi Modi’s lawyer, Mishra had denied the allegations and declined comment saying that the money laundering case is sub-judice.
Sources said Purvi Modi is said to have given a no-objection letter for remitting about Rs 275 crore lying in the bank account of The Deposit Trust.
The remittance by Purvi is being done as she was allowed the tender of pardon on conditions of making full and true disclosure to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that is probing a money laundering case against Nirav Modi.
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According to sources, the Indian government is considering Purvi Modi’s application and is in talks with the Swiss authorities for repatriation of funds.
Emails to Purvi Modi’s lawyer on this offer did not elicit any response.
On January 4, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court passed an order on applications made by Purvi Modi and her husband Maiank Mehta allowing grant of tender of pardon under Sections 306 and 307 of Cr.P.C., on condition of making full and true disclosure.
Both Modi and Mehta were earlier named as an accused in the ED case against Nirav Modi. The court also allowed Purvi and Maiank to be marked as approver in the case.
Subsequently on July 1, the ED said it recovered Rs 17.25 crore from an account of Purvi in the UK, which was opened by Nirav Modi. This, the agency said, was done after Purvi disclosed the information to the probe agency.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, are accused of routing transactions of about Rs 13600 crore through fraudulent LoUs of PNB.
Modi left India in the first week of January 2018, before the PNB scam came out in public. In March 2019, Modi was arrested in the United Kingdom and is currently lodged at Wandsworth prison in London.
In April, the UK government approved the extradition of Modi to India. Earlier on February 25, a UK court had ordered Modi’s extradition holding that the evidence against Modi was prima facie sufficient to order his extradition to India to face charges.
In July, Nirav Modi, moved the UK high court for an oral hearing with a renewed “leave to appeal” application for a judge to determine if it can proceed to a full appeal hearing against extradition ordered by a lower court.
Subsequently in August, the UK high court allowed Modi to appeal against extradition to India on grounds of mental health.
So far, the ED has seized assets worth Rs 2400 crore belonging to Modi in India and abroad.
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