In a big breakthrough in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) bank scam case, Nirav Modi has been declared a fugitive economic offender under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. he has been declared an offender by the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act ( PMLA) court on Thursday. News agency ANI reported that order on confiscation of his properties will be declared later in the day.
Nirav Modi is absconding and has not joined the ED probe in the case till now. Nirav Modi and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the fraud came to light this year following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore. Nirav is currently lodged at Wandsworth prison in London, and was denied bail by London court for the fifth time in November.
The agency back in May sought an official declaration to categorise Nirav Modi as a "fugitive" based on its prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed before a special court in Mumbai PMLA act. On May 24, the ED had filed its first charge sheet in the over USD 2 billion PNB fraud case involving diamantaire Nirav Modi and his associates stating that over Rs 6,400 crore of bank funds were allegedly laundered abroad to dummy companies by him and others. A total of 24 accused have been listed in the charge sheet, filed under section 45 of the PMLA, including Nirav Modi, his father, brother Neeshal Modi, sister Purvi Modi, brother-in-law Mayank Mehta and the designer jewellers' firms--Ms Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamonds R Us. A court-issued non-bailable warrant is also pending against Nirav Modi and the Interpol has also issued a red corner notice to against him.