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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

PNB case: Nirav Modi’s passport suspended, MEA says don’t know where he is

The ministry of external affairs also suspended the passport of Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, and said both passports will be revoked in one week if there is no reply from the two.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2018 17:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A security guard stands guard inside a Nirav Modi showroom during a raid by Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi.
A security guard stands guard inside a Nirav Modi showroom during a raid by Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

The ministry of external affairs on Friday suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi for four weeks as investigations continue into a Rs 11,400-crore fraud case at a Mumbai branch of the Punjab National Bank.

The CBI has registered a fresh FIR against the Gitanjali Group promoted by Mehul Choksi, uncle of billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, following a complaint from Punjab National Bank, and also approached the Interpol to locate them.

The ministry, which said it did not know where Nirav Modi was, gave them one week to respond why their passports should not be revoked.

“If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation,” the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

Announcing the suspension, the statement said,”On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the MEA has today suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967.”

They have been asked to respond within one week why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967, it said.

“The gentleman is not in touch with any of our officers and we don’t know his location,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said when asked if Nirav Modi was in touch with the ministry and if the government knew his whereabouts.

On Wednesday, the PNB said it had discovered more fraudulent transactions dating back to 2011 involving Modi and some of his group companies perpetrated by some of its employees at a Mumbai branch.

The fraud pertains to issuance of letters of undertaking (LoU), essentially guarantees, to three companies associated with Modi by errant PNB employees. That enabled these companies to raise buyer’s credit from international branches of other state-run banks. These LoUs were not recorded in the bank’s books or in the core banking system but have left PNB open to claims from other banks.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 14:36 IST

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