No means to verify Nirav Modi's travel plans: Centre

No means to verify Nirav Modi's travel plans: Centre

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday said that passport of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, the main accused in the USD two billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, was revoked in February last year as per provisions and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has "no means" to verify his travel plans.

The government's response came in Lok Sabha to a question by Congress' Shashi Tharoor who sought to know whether MEA had revoked the passport of Nirav Modi to prevent him from evading the criminal justice system in India. "The Ministry revoked the passport of Nirav Modi as per the provisions of Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967, on February 24, 2018," Minister of State in MEA V Muraleedharan said in a written reply.

To a question whether Modi travelled multiple times to foreign countries on an Indian passport which was revoked, the Minister said, "The Ministry has no means to verify the travels, if any, and the passport used for such travels by him." Last week, Pune's Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) had passed an order asking Nirav Modi and his aides to pay Rs 7300 crore with interest to PNB. The order was passed by presiding officer/judge Deepak Thakkar in two cases registered by PNB in Mumbai.

The development comes less than a week after the Singapore High Court ordered the freezing of a bank account belonging Modi's sister and brother-in-law. The diamantaire was arrested on March 19 by Scotland Yard in connection with the USD two billion Punjab National Court (PNB) loan default case. India is seeking Modi's extradition to make him face the law of the land for allegedly committing economic offences like fraud and money laundering. Modi is lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London.


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