Watch: Nirav Modi booked for customs evasion fraud worth Rs 1,205 crore

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 24, 2018, 04.35 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Facebook )

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi after he was caught in diversion of duty-free imported goods, Cut-and-Polished Diamonds (CPDs) and pearls. 

The agency has discovered that Modi's three companies — Firestar International, Firestar Diamond International and Radashir Jewellery — indulged in a total diversion of duty-free goods was found to be Rs 1,205 crore. 

In December 2014, DRI, had intercepted the consignments, at Air Cargo Complex, Sahar, Mumbai, destined to Hong Kong and Dubai which were found to be mis-declared in their quality, quantity and value, mainly that of Cut & Polished Diamonds (CPD). 

According to the norms, duty-free import of goods by the units located in the SEZ is permitted only if they are to be used as raw material and are exported after value addition or processing.

It was found that high-value diamonds and pearls worth Rs. 890 crore, involving customs duty of Rs. 52 crore, were allegedly diverted by the SEZ units controlled by Nirav Modi and sold in the open market, the officials said.

To evade import duty, he exported low-quality diamonds and pearls and claimed that these were the ones imported and then processed, they said.

The DRI, which is probing the case, has claimed that it has collected vital details, documents and evidence.

All the three companies are located in Surat SEZ. 

Also read: Nirav Modi travelled on revoked Indian passport as recently as June 12

Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia issued the warrant as Modi failed to present himself during the court hearings, public prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala said.

Meanwhile, PNB's own internal report found that multi-crore scam might have been orchestrated by a few rogue employees, but it escaped detection because of widespread risk-control and monitoring lapses in many areas of the bank. 

PNB, India's second-biggest state-controlled lender, has previously alleged that a handful of staff at a single Mumbai branch issued fake bank guarantees over several years to help two jewellery groups - controlled by Indian diamond magnate Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi - raise billions of dollars in foreign credit and commit India's biggest-ever bank fraud. 

The bank's CEO Sunil Mehta told Reuters in April he had suspended 21 officials and "will not spare" others found involved in lapses, but he also described the fraud as a "small turmoil".