Is Nirav Modi holed up in the US?

File photo: Nirav Modi
File photo: Nirav Modi

THE whereabouts of celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi is currently unknown, but media reports indicate that he is holed up in a hotel in New York, the United States of America.

The US government is aware of such reports, however, they have been unable to confirm if Modi, who is wanted in India for allegedly cheating the Punjab National Bank to the tune of over Rs 12,000 crore, is really in the country.

“We are aware of recent media reports+ that Nirav Modi is in the United States but cannot confirm them,” a spokesperson said told PTI when asked about reports that the Indian businessman was in New York. When asked about providing any assistance to the Indian government in tracing Modi, the spokesperson said, “We refer you to the department of justice for questions on legal assistance to the Indian authorities in relation to their investigation of Mr. Modi”.

However, the department of justice refused to comment on Modi.

In early February the Punjab National Bank had filed a case against Modi, his family, and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, alleging fraudulent activities. They all left the country in early January, much before the CBI received a complaint from the Punjab National Bank.

The CBI had asked Modi to appear before it for investigation into the alleged fraud, but he refused saying he had to take care of business abroad. The investigation agency also asked him to contact the Indian embassy in the country he was staying in so that travel could be arranged back to India.

Modi was last seen at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos where he was seen with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted a group photo of the businessman with the PM and this had created quite a stir. However, the Indian government was quick to clarify that Modi was not part of the PM’s delegation.