New Delhi: The fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and others were directed by the appellate tribunal against money laundering not to take any steps in disposing or creating third party interests in their 21 immovable properties. Nirav Modi and others are accused of siphoning of Rs. 6498.20 crore from PNB and UBI consortium.
The chairman of Appellate Tribunal on Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Justice Manmohan Singh said that Nirav Modi is a person who cannot be relied upon for being “not trustworthy” as he fled the country and this step was taken to safeguard bank’s right to recover the public money.
Much to the relief of the two banks, PNB and UBI consortium, Justice Singh said, “As far as the interim order at present sought by the appellant Punjab National Bank is concerned. I am of the considered view that strong prima-facie case has been made out against Nirav Modi, Ami Nirav Modi and others who are liable to the same with regard to 21 properties.”
“Under these circumstances, I direct that the respondent (Nirav Modi and others) shall maintain the status quo in relation to the said property and particularly Nirav Modi, Ami Nirav Modi and other respondents shall not dispose of or create third party interest in respect of 21 immovable properties … having fair market value of Rs. 532.72 crore were personally attached of the said respondent here as the prima facie, I am of the view that the bank is entitle to receive the amount after sale proceeds,” Justice Singh said.
While referring to the extent of the matter, the tribunal said that it was of the view that Nirav Modi was not “trustworthy who ran away from this country after cheating the banks and citizens of this country. The Government through various agencies have taken many steps to bring him back to home country.”
The tribunal noted that there is an anticipation that Nirav Modi may make an attempt to alter the current status of all of his properties irrespective of it being movable or immovable and noted that both the public sector banks, who were cheated by him, are in fact the victim parties.
“Their money is a clean money, it must come to the banks. Most of these are public sector banks. It is the public money,” the tribunal said.
The appeal to maintain “status quo” was filed by PNB and UBI consortium in the tribunal seeking maintenance in relation to all the properties owned by Nirav Modi and others in India as they were the ones accused by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in their cases.
As per the FIR filed by CBI, the three firms – M/s Solar Export, M/s Stellar Diamond and M/s Diamond RUS were involved in the banking fraud and siphoned off money amount of Rs. 2210.61 crore, Rs. 2215.88 crore and Rs. 2134.71 crore respectively.
The PNB bank was cheated fraudulently to obtain Letter of undertakings (LOUs) to get funds from them, it said, adding, “The total proceeds of crime in respect of all the said three Nirav Modi firms/entities arrived at Rs. 6498.20 crore.”