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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

ED files plea to extradite Nirav Modi’s brother in Rs 14,000-crore PNB fraud case

Nehal Modi is accused of money laundering and destruction of evidence.

mumbai Updated: Aug 14, 2019 01:29 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
File photo of Nirav Modi. His brother, Nehal Modi, is accused of money laundering and destruction of evidence.
File photo of Nirav Modi. His brother, Nehal Modi, is accused of money laundering and destruction of evidence. (Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
         

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday approached the sessions court in Mumbai to extradite the brother of Nirav Modi, one of the key accused in the Rs14,000-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB). Nehal Modi is accused of money laundering and destruction of evidence.

Nehal is believed to be in the United States of America.

Appearing for the ED, public prosecutor Kavita Patil on Tuesday moved a plea for Nehal’s extradition before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, which is assigned to hear cases filed against Nirav and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the other prime accused in the PNB case.

In its charge sheet, filed earlier this year, the ED had alleged that Nehal had attempted to influence, threaten and bribe employees and dummy directors of Nirav’s companies after the fraud was discovered. Witnesses told ED that Nehal along with Nirav’s aide Mihir Bhansali had threatened employees to secrecy.

On April 12, last year, around 12 employees from Dubai were taken to Cairo where Nehal allegedly forced them to sign false documents. According to the ED, Nehal was also involved in bribing Ashish Lad, director of one of Nirav’s companies, who “was paid INR 2 million in lieu of tendering false testimony before judicial authorities of Europe”.

Nehal is also accused of siphoning 50 kg gold from Nirav’s Dubai-based company Firestar, as well as cash and 150 boxes of pearls from Hong Kong. The ED claims Nehal is a director of two companies that received Rs 335.95 crore from Nirav’s dummy companies.

As per the process, the court would pass an order which would be in a sealed envelope and communicated to the ministry of external affairs (MEA).

The MEA would then communicate with the authorities in the country from where the accused needs to be extradited.

At presently, India is pursuing the extradition of Nirav, who is lodged in a jail in Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth, in London.

The ED is also pursuing Choksi, who is believed to be in Antigua and has told the Bombay high court that he cannot return to India due to medical concerns.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 22:50 IST

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