ABSCONDING DIAMANTAIRE Nirav Modi claimed before a special court on Saturday that he was unable to return to India due to security threats, including the fear of being lynched, since his effigies have been burnt during Holi.
Modi, through his lawyers Vijay Aggarwal and Ashul Agarwal, claimed that he was being compared to Ravan. “I have read that my effigies were burnt. My 50-feet effigies were burnt during Holi. There is evidence of mob lynching. I am scared. I am being compared to Ravan. Will I not be worried about my security?” he stated.
Modi, who has been booked in Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, added that his inability to return to the country due to these reasons was being considered as his refusal to return.
Special Judge M S Azmi was hearing applications filed by Modi on objections he had to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea seeking to declare him as a “fugitive economic offender” under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, under which his properties can be confiscated even before trial begins.
Modi further claimed that despite his communication to the ED about his apprehensions through emails, the agency has not addressed the same.
Countering this claim, ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar stated that Modi had not submitted any complaint before the police seeking protection on his return to the country and had only made “vague averments” in applications before the court. “Any prudent person facing life threat will at least make a police complaint stating that he should be provided protection when he’s returning at the airport itself. No such complaint has come to the notice of the ED. These claims are irrelevant and have nothing to do with the plea to declare him a fugitive economic offender,” he said.
Modi told the court that he had not fled the country under “suspicious circumstances” as has been claimed by ED. “I have a brand and shops. If one has to run away, he will liquidate all his assets, encash valuables. I left with a valid passport, following the rules of immigration and not on a bus to Nepal with an intent to flee. No FIR was filed against me.”