New Delhi: Absconding billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi managed to travel across several countries even after information about his passport being revoked by the Indian government was flashed in the Interpol central database on 24 February, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in Delhi on Monday. CBI said it had shared the information about revocation of his passport in the “diffusion" notice issued through the Interpol on 15 February.
“After the passport was revoked/cancelled by external affairs ministry, we had updated this information in the diffusion notice. The information that passport of Nirav Modi has been revoked was provided in the Interpol central database, available to all the member countries, on 24 February," CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
The “diffusion" notice was issued by the Interpol on CBI request, the agency followed it up with six countries where Nirav Modi was suspected to have fled, Dayal said.
CBI requested these countries to share information about his whereabouts and movements. It sent these reminders to the Interpol coordination agency of the United Kingdom on 25 April, 22 May, 24 May and 28 May, people in the agency aware of the development said. Similar reminders were also sent to the agencies of the USA, Singapore, Belgium, UAE and France, the people added.
The case pertains to cheating the Punjab National Bank (PNB) through fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) worth over $2 billion (about ₹ 13,000 crore) by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both absconding since the first week of January.
The agency recently issued chargesheets against both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi separately in the scam. It has now approached the Interpol for a Red Corner Notice aimed at bringing Nirav Modi back for facing trial in the cases against them, the sources said.
The CBI, in its chargesheets filed on 14 May, had alleged that Nirav Modi, through his companies, siphoned off funds to the tune of ₹ 6,498.20 crore using fraudulent LoUs issued from PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai. Choksi allegedly swindled ₹ 7,080.86 crore, making it possibly the biggest banking fraud in the country, it alleged.