PNB fraud: Interpol issues red corner notice against Nirav Modi’s ‘beneficiary’ sister
Interpol issues a RCN against Mihir R Bhansali and Purvi Deepak Modi in the PNB money laundering case. The RCN is issued to seek the location and arrest of wanted person(s) with a view to extradition
Interpol has issued a red corner notice (RCN) against Purvi Modi, a Belgian national and absconding billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi's sister, in connection with the alleged USD 2 billion PNB money laundering case, officials said on Monday. The RCN is issued to seek the location and arrest of wanted person(s) with a view to extradition or similar lawful action.
The notice, which acts as an international arrest warrant, states that Purvi Deepak Modi, 44, is required on charges of "money laundering".
In August, a special court in Mumbai had issued public summons to Nirav Modi's sister Purvi and brother Neeshal, who are Belgian citizens, to appear before it on September 25. The court also said that if they fail to appear then their properties would be confiscated under the newly enacted fugitive offenders act. According to ED officials, Purvi Modi and other family members of Nirav Modi were the recipients of the proceeds of the crime.
Once an RCN is issued against a fugitive, Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), the central agency probing the case along with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has charged Purvi Modi with playing "a major role in laundering the proceeds of crime generated from the PNB scam and being a beneficiary of the scam to the tune of at least USD 133 million (over ₹950 crore)".
"She is also the owner/director of several shell or investment companies formed solely for the purpose to launder the proceeds of crime in companies located in the UAE, British Virgin Islands and Singapore," the agency said in its probe report.
The ED wants her to join investigations to take the probe in the case forward and had sought a global warrant against her as she did not comply with summons issued in this context, officials said. The agency named her in the first charge sheet filed in the case before a Mumbai court in May and charged her with laundering the alleged proceeds of crime generated by defrauding the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank in Mumbai.
The ED had alleged the overseas companies linked to her, a number of them dubious or bogus, were "formed and managed in a very complex manner to camouflage the criminal origin of funds in these companies".
Some trusts incorporated for money laundering such as Montecristo Trust, Ithaca Trust, New Zealand Trust were found to be associated with Purvi Modi, the ED has charged. Bank accounts were opened in her name, in the name of her companies and in overseas jurisdictions like Barbados, Mauritius, Switzerland, Singapore, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, the ED probe found.
"Funds stolen from PNB to the tune of more than ₹500 crore were invested in Firestar India via foreign direct investment after layering through these companies. She was also the beneficiary of Dubai and Hong Kong-based dummy companies in which LOUs (letters of undertaking) were credited.
"Later on, her name was removed from these companies and dummy directors were introduced there. Therefore, she actively participated in the crime of money laundering and layering of the money thus acquired and was also the beneficiary of the proceeds of crime," the ED claimed.
The Interpol, in its notice, requested its 192 member countries to arrest or detain Bhansali so that his extradition process could begin. The Interpol has issued a similar notice against Nirav Modi, who as well as his family and uncle Choksi left the country in January, a month before the fraud came to light. According to the Interpol notice, Purvi speaks English, Gujarati and Hindi.
Once an RCN is issued against a fugitive, Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.
A similar Interpol notice was recently issued against Mihir R Bhansali, a top executive of Nirav Modi's US business concern, on charges of money laundering. Bhansali, who was an executive in Nirav Modi's Firestar International firm, has been absconding since the probe started in the alleged $2 billion PNB fraud case. The notice mentions Bhansali's birth place Mumbai and gives his date of birth as November 15, 1977.
A similar notice was also issued against Nirav Modi sometime back as part of a joint probe by the ED and the CBI in the case. India has now moved for his extradition from the UK.
The case pertains to cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank through fraudulent issuance of LoUs and Foreign Letters of Credit worth over USD 2 billion (about ₹13,000 crore) allegedly by Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi in connivance with few bank and other government officials.
Nirav Modi and Choksi have been absconding since the beginning of 2018.