Less than a month after Republic TV tracked down the London address of billionaire Nirav Modi, an appellate tribunal, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, has been ordered to auction his assets worth Rs. 523,72,37,000 (Rs. 523 crores). In a detailed tribunal, the order has named all the partners of Nirav Modi including his wife Ami Nirav Modi, brother Nishal Modi and uncle Mehul Chinubhai Choksi of being involved in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam that came out in open in January 2018.
Stating that Nirav Modi is 'not trustworthy', the tribunal suggests that there is a reasonable apprehension that Nirav Modi may try to alter the present status of these properties listed in the tribunal.
"This Tribunal is of the view that Nirav Modi is not trustworthy who ran away from this country after cheating the banks and citizens of this country. The Govt. through various agencies have taken many steps to bring him back to home country. There is an apprehension that he may try to alter the present status of movable and immovable properties. The appellant and other banks are public sector banks who have been cheated by Mr Nirav Modi. The money of the banks is a clean money, it must come to the banks. Most of these are public sector banks. It is the public money," states the order of the appellate tribunal against Nirav Modi.
Further, the appellate also asserts that PNB being a nationalized bank has suffered huge losses due to the frauds by the Nirav Modi and his partners in the scam.
"Member of PNB have suffered huge losses on account of credit facilities which were extended to Nirav Modi. Accordingly, PNB filed a complaint with the Police authorities as it was a victim and if in these facts and circumstances the Appellant is not allowed to sell off the properties, huge losses would not only occur to Appellant but the entire economy of this country would suffer," the appellate tribunal reads.
Questioning Nirav Modi and his business partners in the money laundering scam, the PNB appellate order claims that they have been operating businesses on the side using different names.
"It has been noticed from this case that the borrowers/NPA/big corporate-houses are not paying the huge defaulted-loan amounts to the public sector banks which are owned by the Government. Most of them are not sitting on the roadside and are still operating businesses in different names and different management in order to avoid returning the defaulted loan amount."
The appellate has mentioned having listing out 21 immovable assets worth market value of Rs 523 crore of Nirav Modi and other respondents in the PNB scam and has also ordered them to not to dispose of or create third party interest with the properties. As per the tribunal, the list of Nirav Modi's properties to be auctioned will be out on December 10, 2018.