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PNB scam: To locate Nirav Modi and his family, ED seeks Interpol help

Nirav Modi and his family went underground days before the PNB scam was reported to the CBI.

PNB scam: To locate Nirav Modi and his family, ED seeks Interpol help

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now approached the Interpol to locate Nirav Modi, who is an accused in multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, and his family, sources said on Thursday. According to the sources, the agency had sent the request to the Interpol last week aimed at tracing and arresting Modi who went underground, days before the PNB fraud was unearthed. 

Modi, along with his family, is believed to have left the country in January first week, weeks before the scam was reported to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating criminal misconduct in the case. 

The request sent to Interpol is part of money trail probe by the ED and the CBI after several cases of financial misconduct were registered against Nirav Modi and his business partner and uncle Mehul Choksi – the promoter of Gitanjali Group – in connection with the PNB scam. 

The ED had on Wednesday arrested Shyam Sunder Wadhwa, Vice President, Finance, of Firestar Group and a close confidante of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi under the PMLA.

Last week, the ED seized valuables worth over Rs 36 crore belonging to Nirav Modi.

The items seized included Rs 10-crore diamond ring, antique jewellery worth Rs 15 crore, high-end watches valued at Rs 1.40 crore, Rs 10 crore-worth paintings by renowned artists including M.F. Hussain, K.K. Hebbar and Amrita Shergil.

Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, along with his group companies - Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports - and others have been implicated in the Rs 13,500 crore scam which was admitted by the PNB in February, leading to a massive upheaval in the country's banking system.

In February, the CBI had approached the Interpol with a request of issuing a Diffusion Notice against Modi to locate him. 

Modi's wife Ami, a US citizen, reportedly left the country on January 6 and his uncle Choksi on January 4.

In several complaints to the CBI, the PNB has claimed that several Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) were fraudulently issued by its officials in connivance with Modi and the other accused in the case causing it a huge loss. 

A LoU is a letter of comfort issued by one bank to branches of other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers.

In its ongoing investigation in the case, the ED on Tuesday arrested Modi's Firestar Group Vice President Shyam Sunder Wadhwa and it has so far carried out searches at 251 properties across the country and seized diamonds, gold, pearls and precious and semi-precious stones.

The ED has also claimed to have attached immovable properties belonging to their business groups to the tune of Rs 7,638 crore.

(With IANS inputs)