WION Web Team Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Feb 16, 2018, 09.45 AM
A lookout notice was issued by the CBI against jeweller Nirav Modi and his associates last month in the PNB banking fraud case but by then they had escaped from India.
Nirav Modi, who holds an Indian passport, left India on January 1, while his brother Nishal, a Belgian citizen, departed from the country on the same day. Modi's wife Ami, a US citizen, left on January 6 and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, left on January 4.
Here is the chronology of Nirav Modi's planned exit:
CBI sources said that Nirav Modi had already made plans to flee the country with his family well in advance as early as a year ago.
Nirav Modi was planning to leave country around his brother Neehal's wedding in December 2016. However, Demonetisation was announced right before this and then he had to postpone his plan.
In last one year Nirav Modi allegedly started parking all his money through multiple layers where he made transactions at inflated prices.
Some transactions are suspected to have been made with fictitious companies and are being scrutinized by the investigating agencies.
Specially transactions between India and 5 countries including USA, UK Malaysia, Singapore and China are being closely monitored.
Agencies suspect that funds were routed to different cities worldwide.
Firstly, funds were transferred from India to Macau, Beijing, Hongkong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.Later from these cities to London.
And then from London, the funds moved to Hawaii, Las Vegas and New York before moving to his Swiss accounts.
Somewhere in December 2017, somebody from PNB (other than 2 main accused) tipped him off about the meeting held by PNB top officials and a complaint to be filed with CBI.
Upon learning about this, Nirav Modi made his final plan to flee post new year celebration. Knowing that if all of them leave together could lead to suspicion, they decided to leave one by one so that if one is held others are safe.
Sources claim Nirav was scared of leaving alone that he left with his brother Neeshal who is a Belgian citizen.
Once Nirav and Neeshal Modi sneaked out of the country, they alerted their uncle Mehul Choksi who reportedly left after three days. Meanwhile, Nirav Modi's wife Ami Modi stayed put in Mumbai to keep a close watch on what was happening in the investigation agency, bank and media circles. After two days, Modi's American citizen wife Ami also left the country along with her child. Thus, all 4 accused escaped in a span of a week's time.
About 3 weeks later, PNB officials submitted a written complaint to Bank Security & Fraud Cell (BSFC) of CBI in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai.
On receiving this complaint, CBI started recording the statement of the complainant bank authority and registered an FIR on 31st January.
Nirav Modi's priority was to safeguard the family members. However, by the last week of January 2018, he wanted to shift all expensive jewellery to New York through shipment but by then the case was registered and his plans were thwarted by the investigation agencies.