ABSCONDING DIAMANTAIRE Nirav Modi on Saturday told a special court that Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) motivation behind getting him prosecuted included “political mileage derived by the ruling party by claiming clean-up and recovery of public money”.
Modi, an accused in the Rs 14,000-crore PNB scam, in a submission before the special court hearing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea to declare him a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, also said that by prosecuting him, the ruling party seeks to “project itself as a strong headed party having zero tolerance for corruption”.
In his plea filed through advocate Ashul Agarwal, Modi said: “That it can be said that the motivation for the prosecution by the PNB is… the desire of PNB to avoid its liability towards its co-bankers… and deriving of political mileage by the ruling party by claiming clean-up and to project itself as a strong headed party having zero tolerance for corruption and claiming the recovery of public money lost by Opposition party in whose regime the funding was granted, by attaching assets.”
Modi maintained that the ED claim that he had left the country and refused to face prosecution is false, and therefore, he cannot be defined as a fugitive economic offender under the Act.
“Respondent (Modi) left the country way before registration of FIR. Still not clear, does an NRI leave the country? An NRI works and lives outside India,” the plea stated.
Modi further said that his concerns have been compounded by the statements made by leaders from all political parties, suggesting that his case is being used for political purposes.
He also said that the ED has deliberately kept information regarding his responses through email to investigators to claim that he has not cooperated with the probe. He added that he has not refused to return but has merely raised some concerns and sought to be communicated with via email. Further, he claimed that there is no direct evidence linking him to the offences claimed by the ED, of colluding with PNB staffers for wrongful gain to his company through false transactions.
The court is likely to hear arguments of the ED plea next week.