Persistent health problem, can't return to India: Choksi to CBI

In a related development, the Enforcement Directorate, which is also investigating the Rs. 12,600-crore PNB fraud case, has made a decision to send Letters Rogatory to over 15 countries against diamond jeweler Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Though India has not yet charged Modi and only suspended his passport as well as his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi's for four weeks, threatening to take strict legal action in case of his failure to respond to the government's notice.

In his letter he mentioned, "I am also not in a position to travel due to my persisting health problem".

The jeweller has further written that a media trial has been going on against him for which his passport has been suspended.

Choksi, who heads Gitanjali Gems, which operates stores under banners including Gili, Nakshatra and Asmi, said in his letter that while the CBI has seized his assets, it has yet to submit a "Seizure Memo" in court, as required by law. In a letter to the CBI, Choksi not only refused to return but also asked Mumbai's Regional Passport Office (RPO) to explain on what basis his passport was revoked.

Nirav Modi will be prosecuted for wrong declaration of value and quantity of the imported Cut and Polished Diamonds, Pearls to Customs and diversion of the Duty Exempted goods to the domestic tariff area clandestinely, the report had said.

Adding that the agency is not convinced by their excuses, the CBI said that both Choksi and Modi have not disclosed their location despite repeatedly asking them to do so.

It is alleged that they got LoUs and FLCs of Rs 12,636 crore issued in favour of foreign branches of Indian banks based on fraudulent claims.

On March 6, Modi's firm, Firestar Diamond, moved the Delhi High Court against the ED's proceedings against the company.

Modi is said to have defrauded Punjab National Bank, India's second largest state-run bank, of 1.8 billion USA dollars, though he said that he only owed the bank 775 million US dollars, in a letter sent to the bank's management.

The developments come in the wake of a third first information report (FIR) registered by CBI on 4 March against Nirav Modi, Ravi Shankar Gupta, chief financial officer (CFO) of Firestar International; and Vipul Ambani, president (finance) of Firestar International.

  • Rosalie Stanley