New Delhi: Agencies investigating the $2 billion PNB fraud have found that absconding diamond jeweller Nirav Modi has at least half-a-dozen Indian passports, and are planning to file a fresh first investigation report (FIR) in this matter, officials said on Sunday.
Investigation agencies have traced Nirav Modi to Belgium. His frequent travels, despite revocation of his passport, has raised suspicion of him holding six passports, of which two were active for quite some time. One of these had his full name while the other had only his first name with a 40-month UK visa.
The second passport was also subsequently revoked by the Indian authorities.
According to people familiar with the development, the government—through the ministry of external affairs—has informed the Interpol about Nirav Modi's revoked passports, but in the absence of a uniform international mechanism, the document couldn't be blocked in several countries.
"It is a criminal offence to use a revoked passport and possess more than one valid passport if a person does not enjoy a special status like that of a diplomatic entity, a government employee, etc. A fresh FIR may be filed against Nirav Modi and he may face prosecution for the offence after the completion of an internal inquiry," a senior official in the security establishment said.
According to this official, an inquiry is also being conducted to check if Nirav Modi is using passports issued by other countries.
Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) urged Interpol to issue an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi on the basis of their respective chargesheets against him and others, containing corruption and money-laundering charges.
Once the Interpol issued the notice and Modi's latest location was ascertained, the government would move for his extradition, the people quoted above said.
The ED will also move a special court in Mumbai to seek an official declaration to categorise Modi as a "fugitive" on the basis of the chargesheet filed last month and for immediate confiscation of assets worth over Rs8,000 crore, owned by him, his family and associated firms.
Nirav Modi, his uncle and Gitanjali gems promoter Nirav Choksi, and others are being probed by the agencies after the PNB fraud came to light, following a complaint by the bank. CBI and ED have registered two FIRs each in the PNB fraud case. Both Modi and Choksi are said to have left the country before the criminal cases were lodged against them.