The Interpol has issued a Red Notice (RN) against Nehal Modi, brother of fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi, in connection with the Rs 13,600 crore fraudulent bank transactions at the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person, pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
Nehal Modi (40), a Belgium citizen, is currently in the United States, said sources.
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had requested the Interpol to issue a Red Notice against Nehal Modi for his alleged Interpol issues Red Notice against Nirav Modi’s brother role in helping Nirav Modi launder bank funds. According to sources, the Interpol issued the notice against Nehal Modi on July 5, after hearing his arguments challenging the ED’s request. The Interpol Red Notice, however, was made public only on Friday.
The ED has alleged that Nehal Modi “knowingly and intentionally” assisted Nirav Modi in concealing the alleged laundering of money and “destroying evidence”. The agency has also alleged that Nehal Modi siphoned about 50 kg gold from Nirav Modi’s Dubai-based company — Firestar Diamond and Jewellery — as well as cash and 150 boxes of pearls from Hong Kong.
The ED has claimed Nehal Modi is a director of two companies that received Rs 335.95 crore from Nirav Modi’s dummy companies. According to the probe agency, Nehal Modi allegedly also helped Nirav Modi route $30 million of the bank loans to Ithaca Trust, which was eventually used to purchase properties in the US.
Nehal Modi, in his appeal to the Interpol commission, had said that he will not get a fair trial if he is extradited to India. He said he had “no institutional ties” with Nirav Modi’s companies and the sale of 50 kg gold of a liquidated firm was “legal”. He claimed that he had been charged by Indian agencies “due to family ties”.
Detailing Nehal Modi’s role, an ED complaint (chargesheet) filed in a local court last year said:”…after the crisis (Rs 13,600 crore scam at PNB), Nehal Modi, brother of Nirav Modi, destroyed all the cellphones of all dummy directors in Dubai and Hong Kong and arranged for their tickets to Cairo — a safe heaven”.
The Indian Express earlier reported that Nirav Modi had created over 15 dummy companies overseas to allegedly rotate the funds acquired through letters of undertaking (LoU) from PNB, “in the guise of export-import transactions”. The agency has now identified at least 17 dummy directors of these companies. All of them are either employees or former employees of Nirav Modi’s firms, with monthly salaries ranging between Rs 8,000 and Rs 30,000.
Relying on statements of two witnesses, including a dummy director, the ED said that after the scam broke at PNB, the dummy directors “wished” to return to India but were “persuaded” to stay back, and Nehal Modi “visited Dubai and took lead in the matter and destroyed all the mobiles of dummy company managers/ directors”.
The ED, in its prosecution complaint against Nirav Modi in court, has alleged that Nehal Modi was “personally overseeing that all the accounts, records were eliminated and was influencing the employees, and participated to annihilate the evidences” after the Indian agencies began probing the scam.
The Interpol has already issued Red Notices against Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group, and sister Purvi Modi Mehta. While Nirav Modi is currently lodged in a jail in the UK and is facing extradition charges in connection with the PNB scam, Choksi is in Antigua.
Both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi left India in the first week of January 2018, before the PNB scam became public.