NEW DELHI: Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamond merchant accused of swindling Punjab National Bank of Rs 14,000 crore, is carrying on with his business in Brussels undeterred by the fact that all his bank accounts have been frozen in India and one of his companies in Belgium has been declared bankrupt. According to sources, Nirav Modi is using entities run by his father Deepak Modi and some other associates in Belgium.
Deepak Modi’s Nipur BVBA, a subsidiary of Firestar International Ltd, has been found doing diamond trade allegedly on behalf of Nirav Modi. Sources said at least 23 subsidiaries associated with Nirav Modi and his family members were registered in countries like Singapore, the US, Russia, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Macau, the UAE and Armenia.
In Brussels, Indian authorities have informed all banks and financial institutions about the investigation against Nirav Modi, and requested that his financial transactions be blocked. However, sources said these preventive measures hardly impacted Nirav Modi’s business as he was carrying out operations through the companies run by his father and associates.
A court in Belgium had declared Nirav Modi’s Firestar Diamond BVBA bankrupt in March. The company was engaged in diamond trading across Europe and Africa. However, this has not restricted Nirav Modi and he has been transacting his business through the other entities. The government had revoked Nirav Modi’s passport on February 24 on a request from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
However, he was found taking frequent trips across the Schengen region using his revoked passport. The foreign ministry has now written to Belgium, the UK and France and requested them to inform Indian authorities about Nirav Modi’s whereabouts and also put restrictions on his travel.
The ED is likely to move an extradition request against Nirav Modi to the UK, Belgium and some other countries having obtained a non-bailable warrant from a Mumbai court against the fugitive. The CBI and the ED have approached Interpol for a red corner notice against Nirav Modi. The request is pending.