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US invokes RICO Act against Nirav Modi, may expedite extradition to India: Report

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

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 04, 2019, 11.17 AM (IST)

Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is undergoing extradition proceedings in the United Kingdon (UK), has been charged with violating Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in an American bankruptcy court which, according to reports, could pave the way for his speedier extradition to India. 

Modi is currently in Wandsworth Jail in the UK.

In February 2018, three companies linked to Nirav – Firestar Diamond International, A Jaffe and Fantasy Inc – filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States of America (USA).

A court-appointed trustee probed the companies and filed a complaint against Mihir Bhansali, CEO of Firestar Diamond and Fantasy; Ajay Gandhi, a senior executive in all three companies; and Nirav.

The trio was accused of breaching fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, and violations of the RICO Act. “The case in the US is also linked with his [Nirav’s] scam in the country,” a media report said quoting ED source.

Nirav is the prime accused in $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the maximum punishment Modi would face in India is seven years’ imprisonment while a conviction under the RICO Act could see Nirav, Bhansali and Gandhi facing up to 20 years in prison. Reports said the ED believes that if Nirav is faced with this possibility, he may not contest India’s extradition request as aggressively as he is now.

London's Westminster Magistrate court on March 29 rejected Modi's bail plea for the second time.

The judge had fixed April 26th as the next date of hearing. Modi will appear via video link from jail at the next hearing.