Hong Kong authorities asked to arrest Nirav, govt tells Rajya Sabha

India has asked the authorities in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to arrest business tycoon Nirav Modi, who has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of about Rs 13,000 crore.

New Delhi, on March 23 last, requested the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to arrest Nirav Modi provisionally, V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question.

This is the first time the government of India acknowledged it was aware of the whereabouts of the jeweller.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on February 23 revoked the passports of Nirav Modi and his business associate Mehul Choksi in accordance with Section 10A of the Passports Act, 1967.

The MEA earlier suspended the passports of Nirav and Choksi on the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which registered a case against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The suspension of the passport immediately made it impossible for Nirav and Choksi to use the travel documents in whichever country or countries they were staying after leaving India.

They were issued show-cause notices and asked to respond within a week. Since they failed to respond within the stipulated time period, their passports were revoked by the passport issuing authority under the MEA on 23 February, Singh informed the Rajya Sabha.

Nirav left India on January 1, while Choksi did so on January 4 much before the PNB lodged a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation that the billionaire diamond merchant and his partner had defrauded the state-run bank of Rs 280 crore.

The subsequent complaints lodged by the PNB took the quantum of the scam to about Rs 13,000 crore.

The ED asked the MEA to suspend the validity of Nirav and Choksi's passports after launching a probe into the allegations against them.

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