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Nirav Modi: The Wharton Dropout at the Centre of Punjab National Bank Scam

Hailing from Gujarat, Modi founded Firestar Diamond with a glitzy retail business in top cities of the world, including Delhi, Mumbai, New York, London, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Updated:February 15, 2018, 4:09 PM IST
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Nirav Modi: The Wharton Dropout at the Centre of Punjab National Bank Scam
File photo of Nirav Modi.
As India’s banking sector wakes up to yet another mega-crisis in the form of Punjab National Bank (PNB) reporting fraudulent transactions worth Rs 11,360 crore, jewellery designer Nirav Modi, the prime accused has left the country.

WHO IS NIRAV MODI?

“Built brilliantly around a man, his métier, his art and extraordinary mastery of diamonds and above all, his passionate devotion to igniting feminity…” are the words that describe Nirav Modi and his brand as one surfs his website.

Hailing from Gujarat, Modi founded Firestar Diamond with a glitzy retail business in top cities of the world, including Delhi, Mumbai, New York, London, Hong Kong and Macau.

In 2015, US President Donald Trump inaugurated his first store in New York’s Madison Avenue. Modi’s expanding retail market has made him one of the youngest Indians in the Forbes Billionaires List 2017.

The billionaire businessman grew up in Belgium, known as the centre for international refined diamond trade. Education was never Modi’s plan as he dropped out of Wharton Business School and moved to India to train in the diamond trade under his uncle.

Several years later, he founded the Nirav Modi jewellery brand. With an enviable celebrity clientele, Modi’s designs have been flaunted by both Bollywood and Hollywood A-listers, including Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai and Kate Winslet.

His exquisite pieces are worth anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 50 crore. Modi later started his company Firestar Diamond in Mumbai in 1999 to source rare diamonds and later began manufacturing.

In 2014, with his entourage of skilled craftsmen and designers, he launched his high-end flagship boutique under his name in Delhi that has now spread its wings to Mumbai, Delhi New York, Hong Kong and London.

His website reads “Arts and craftsmanship are the guiding lights for the brand and the designs are inspired by his passion for travel, art and nature.”

Last year, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was also made the global ambassador for the Nirav Modi brand.

The CBI had also surveyed the offices of Gitanjali Group – one of the largest diamond companies in India and a listed jewellery retailer promoted by Choksi – in connection with the investigation.

His designs have been worn at the Oscars by 'Hidden Figures' star Taraji P. Henson and to the Golden Globes by Dakota Johnson, among others.

In 2015, Lisa Haydon and Nimrat Kaur were chosen to launch the designer's store in New York City. Steven Spielberg and Sharon Stone have also bought the jeweller's creations in the past.

In 2016, Modi purchased the iconic Rhythm House in Mumbai.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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