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Nirav Modi: Fugitive diamantaire and India's most wanted

File photo: Nirav Modi Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 18, 2018, 10.59 AM (IST)

Diamantaire made the news this year for all the wrong reasons. Modi fled India after being accused of money laundering, Rs 11,400-crore fraud involving Punjab National Bank and embezzlement.

The alleged kingpin of the largest banking scam in the country's history, Modi left the country along with his family in the first week of January, before the alleged scam became public.

The PNB, the second largest state-run bank, had, on February 14, informed the exchanges about detecting the fraud at its Brady House branch in Mumbai, and named the firms led by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Group, and some other diamond and jewellery merchants as suspects.

Central government agencies - the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate - registered cases on the complaint by the bank and launched nationwide searches on dozens of offices and residences of the alleged fraudsters. The bank named Nirav Modi's brother, his American wife Ami, and uncle Mehul Choksi besides some others in the FIR.

In December this year, the Interpol issued a red corner notice (RCN) against Choksi. The notice is a kind of international warrant through which the Interpol requests its member countries to catch fugutives wanted by the international police organisation. Nirav Modi has already been slapped with the RCN in July.

The CBI is also probing an additional loan default of over Rs 5,000 crore given to Choksi's companies.

At a hearing before a special court in Mumbai, his lawyer had said that the fugitive diamantaire cannot return to India as he is afraid of "getting lynched". His last known location is believed to be in the UK and India has approached the British government for his extradition.

Nirav Modi was a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous for years.