Countries Let Nirav Modi Travel on Revoked Passport Despite Interpol Alert, Says CBI
The agency said it had shared the information about revocation of his passport in the 'diffusion' notice issued through the Interpol on February 15.
New Delhi: Under fire for allowing Nirav Modi to still use the Indian passport, the CBI on Monday said that information about the absconding diamantaire’s passport being revoked had been flashed in the Interpol central database on February 24 but several countries ignored the alert and still let him travel.
The agency said it had first shared the information about revocation of his passport in the 'diffusion' notice issued through the Interpol on February 15. In its intimation to the Interpol, the CBI gave details of all the five passports issued by the government to Nirav Modi. These passports are linked with each other, but their numbers changed because of renewal or the booklets becoming full.
Nirav, who is the main accused in the Rs 13,000-crore PNB fraud, is still using Indian passport for travelling. There are reports that the diamond merchant used Indian passport for travelling as recently as last week on June 12, when he took Eurostar train to travel from London to Brussels.
"After the passport was revoked/cancelled by External Affairs Ministry, we had updated this information in the diffusion notice. The information that passport of Nirav Modi has been revoked was provided in the Interpol central database, available to all the member countries, on February 24," CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
According to the information shared by the United Kingdom (UK), after the information was flashed in the Interpol central database, Nirav Modi travelled from Heathrow Airport in London to Hong Kong on March 15, from JFK Airport in New York to Heathrow on March 28 and from Heathrow to Charles De Gaulle, Paris on March 31.
The information was provided in response to the 'diffusion' notice issued by the CBI through Interpol, they said, adding once the database is updated, it is on the member countries to share information about the movements of the suspect and the agency can only request them to share it.
The sources said that no credible information about the location of Nirav Modi is available with the agency. The spokesperson said after the 'diffusion' notice was issued by the Interpol on the request of the CBI, the agency followed it up with the Interpol coordination agencies of six countries, where Modi was suspected to have fled.
The agency requested these countries directly to share information about his whereabouts and movements. It sent these reminders to the Interpol coordination agency of the UK on April 25, May 22, May 24 and May 28, agency sources said.
Similar reminders were also sent to the agencies of the USA, Singapore, Belgium, the UAE and France, they said.
The case pertains to cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) worth over USD 2 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore) by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both absconding since the first week of January.
The agency recently charge-sheeted both Nirav Modi and Choksi separately in the scam. It has now approached the Interpol for a Red Corner Notice aimed at bringing Nirav Modi back for facing trial in the cases against them, the sources said.
The CBI, in its charge sheets filed on May 14, had alleged that Nirav Modi, through his companies, siphoned off funds to the tune of Rs 6,498.20 crore using fraudulent LoUs issued from PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai. Choksi allegedly swindled Rs 7,080.86 crore, making it possibly the biggest banking scam in the country, it alleged.
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