New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that a plea moved by Firestar Diamonds Ltd, a company controlled by Nirav Modi, challenging the seizure of its property by the investigating agency should not be entertained as Nirav Modi was an “absconding fugitive" who had refused to participate in the ongoing fraud investigation.
A bench comprising justices S. Muralidhar and I.S. Mehta was hearing Firestar Diamonds’ plea seeking a stay on the seizure of its property in connection with the probe in the Rs12,700 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.
Additional solicitor general Sandeep Sethi, appearing for ED, argued that the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India was discretionary in nature and a “fugitive" should not be allowed to seek any relief under it by taking advantage of his corporate holdings.
“Nirav Modi holds almost 99.9% of the shareholdings in Firestar Diamonds, directly and indirectly. This disentitles him from the discretionary jurisdiction of the court," Sethi said. Vijay Agarwal, appearing for Firestar Diamonds, argued that the company had an identity of its own which was distinct from its promoter and director Nirav Modi.
He further argued that Modi was not an “absconding fugitive" and no proceedings against him for being a “proclaimed offender" had been initiated by any court. The matter would be next heard on 3 May.