High Court (India)

June 17, 2019

PNB Scam Case: Move To Formally Declare Nirav Modi As Economic Fugitive Hits A Roadblock After Legal Challenge

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Enforcement Directorate’s moves to declare absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi who is an accused in the Punjab National Bank scam has hit a roadblock after his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal has opposed the move.

The matter was scheduled to be heard by Judge U M Mudhokar at the City Civil & Sessions Court in Mumbai recently.

However, Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal argued that that the above mentioned court is not designated under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, though it is a designated court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The application moved by the lawyer was opposed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the grounds that several applications moved in the past on behalf of Nirav Modi were dismissed and the latest one is merely another attempt to delay proceedings further.

The Enforcement Directorate submitted that the fugitive proceedings against Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya were initiated almost at the same time.

It was argued that though Vijay Mallya was declared a fugitive economic offender six months ago, legal impediments created by Modi's lawyer had impeded fugitive proceedings against him for more than a year now.

The Enforcement Directorate stated that arguments on the application under Section 4 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act are yet to begin.

Meanwhile, the court has issued a notice on Modi’s lawyers’s application and adjourned the hearing for June 25.

The Enforcement Directorate would get the power to attach Nirav Modi’s offshore properties as soon as he is formally declared an economic fugitive by the court.

The latest development has come after Nirav Modi’s fourth attempt to secure bail in an ongoing extradition case in the United Kingdom failed after a judge of the High Court of England and Wales stated that there is compelling evidence that he sought to interfere with witnesses.

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