Nirav Modi’s close confidante brought back from Cairo; arrested
Subhash Shankar Parab, 49, was deputy general manager (DGM) of finance (operations) in Modi’s Firestar International Pvt Ltd since 2015
Subhash Shankar Parab, a close confidante of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who fled to Egypt in 2018, was brought to India on Tuesday morning after being deported from that country and was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), people familiar with the matter said.
Parab, 49, has been in hiding in Cairo since the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud worth ₹13,578 crore was unearthed in early 2018.
He fled India on January 1, 2018, around the same time Nirav Modi left the country with his family. A charge sheet was filed against him, Modi and 20 others in May 2018 after which an Interpol red notice was also issued against him.
Considered very close to Nirav Modi and his brother Nehal Modi, Parab was deputy general manager (DGM) of finance (operations) in Modi’s Firestar International Pvt Ltd since 2015 and party to all financial trasactions of the company.
While seeking his custody for 14 days in a Mumbai court, CBI said on Tuesday Parab looked after banking related activities of three other companies also – Diamonds R Us, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports.
“He was a close confidante of Nirav Modi and was directly reporting to him and has knowledge of fraudulent activities of Nirav Modi. There are several original LOU applications issued on behalf of three firms which are yet to be recovered,” said CBI.
“He was heading the banking operations department of the company and applications for fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LOUs) and supporting documents were issued on his instructions. Parab knew that the three firms didn’t have any credit facilities with PNB and couldn’t provide 100% cash margin for issuing LOUs,” the agency added.
Parab also handled finances of six other companies of Nirav Modi in Hong Kong and 13 other companies of the jeweller in Dubai.
Modi and his uncle Mehil Choksi are the main accused in the PNB fraud case where they got officials of PNB to issue LOUs to them. These were essentially guarantees that allowed the duo to get buyer’s credit from the overseas branches of Indian banks. When the repayment was due, the two would get a fresh LOU, get credit from another bank and repay the earlier loans.
The agency said using fraudulent LOUs, Modi cheated PNB of ₹6,498 crore (it was defrauded of the remaining amount by Mehul Choksi).
Since all documents were issued on Parab’s instructions, CBI said his custody is required to unearth the larger conspiracy and ascertain the identity and role of other accused on the run, as well as the end use of the amount defrauded by Nirav Modi.
Parab also coordinated with overseas branches of Indian banks in Hong Kong to get money from them against LOUs issued by PNB in favour of Stellar Diamonds, Solar Imports and Diamond R US, CBI said.
CBI and Enforcement Directorate documents reviewed by HT also claimed that three weeks after it registered its first case in PNB fraud, when Nirav Modi’s younger brother Nehal Modi instructed dummy directors of companies in Hong Kong and Dubai to flee to Cairo to avoid Indian agencies at a meeting, Parab was present .
Many of these directors, CBI said, returned to India and gave statements against Modi and claimed they were made to sign documents saying they were the actual owners of the dummy companies flaoted by the former.
Parab, however, never joined the CBI and ED probe and remained elusive for past more than four years, the agency said.
The Mumbai court has sent him to CBI custody till April 26.
Nirav Modi is currently lodged in Wandsworth prison on the outskirts of London since March 19, 2019 after he was arrested on the basis of India’s extradition request to Britain. A Westminster court ordered his extradition in February 2021, which he has challenged in the UK high court.