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Punjab National Bank fraud: Not a fugitive, Nirav Modi tells CBI

Diamond trader Nirav Modi also alleged that he was being subjected to trial by media and political parties.

business Updated: Mar 10, 2018 09:29 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Nirav Modi,PNB fraud,CBI
File photo of Nirav Modi in Mumbai.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint Photo)

Nirav Modi, alleged to have, along with associates, defrauded Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs12,600 crore, has denied he is a fugitive from the law and the reason for the government rushing through the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill.

In a March 7 e-mail to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Modi said he cannot come to India because he has business to take care of elsewhere, but added that the agency can reach him on his Gmail ID. The e-mail was in response to yet another summons to Modi from the federal investigating agency.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was approved on March 1 by the Union cabinet to enable the government to speedily confiscate properties of economic offenders who flee the country.

“Various media houses have already tagged me as a ‘fugitive’, though I am not one. Moreover it has come to my knowledge that a great deal of mileage is being drawn by the political parties and media by connecting a Bill with me, branding me as the reason for the passing of the said Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,” said the email, parts of which were seen by Hindustan Times.

Modi also alleged that he was being subjected to trial by media and political parties.

“The reporting by the media and the political parties is such, as if I am already convicted (under the law),” said Modi.

A CBI spokesperson confirmed the receipt of the mail and added that the agency had asked Modi to join the investigation as soon as possible. The agency has asked him to approach the nearest Indian mission to get a one-time emergency travel document to return as his passport stands revoked.

In the e-mail, Modi said no reason has been provided for the revocation of his passport, nor for the attachment of his properties by the Enforcement Directorate and the income tax department. He added that by visiting the office of law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas in Mumbai to collect documents, CBI violated client-attorney privilege.

“In view of the acts of the Investigating Agency of raiding the office of an advocate, now, even the professionals are wary of giving me legal advice, and I am not a position to retrieve any documents/information, to answer notices, queries and proceedings initiated against me by multiple agencies,” wrote Modi.

He also claimed that he was facing threats from employees who have not been paid salaries and from the families of employees who have been arrested.

Modi alleged that the CBI was forcing arrested suspects to toe its line although the Constitution gives them the right to remain silent.

“There have been recent reports that a family committed suicide due to their treatment by the CBI,” said Modi and pasted links to media reports on suicides committed by BK Bansal, his wife and two adult children.

Bansal was posted as a director general in the corporate affairs ministry when the CBI arrested him on the charges of taking q bribe. The Bansals alleged torture by CBI officials as the reason for committing suicide.

Modi and his family left India in the first week of January and have not returned since.

Punjab National Bank has alleged that Modi and his family members had committed a fraud of Rs12,600 crore, making it India’s biggest bank scam.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 09:29 IST