The hunt is still on to nab celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi, who is accused by the Punjab National Bank for swindling over Rs. 11,300 crore. Indian authorities do not know where Modi is, but some television channels say the billionaire diamond trader is holed up in a swanky hotel in New York’s Manhattan.
Reportedly, he is staying in a suite at JW Marriott’s Essex House, which is close to his Madison Avenue jewelery retail store. Modi is best-known to the international media for clinching Hollywood stars Kate Winslet and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as his clients. In India, the Nirav Modi brand’s ambassador is Priyanka Chopra.
Modi left the country in January, just days before India’s Central Bureau of Investigation started investigating him for defrauding the bank. He was last seen in Davos along with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the prime minister for helping tainted businessmen to flee the country. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi posted, “The scamster’s escape formula: La(Mo) + Ni(Mo) —(with) Na(Mo)—> Bha(Go)”, along with the hashtag “#ModiRobsIndia.”
In yet another tweet, he added: “Guide to looting India by Nirav Modi–1. Hug PM Modi 2. Be seen with him in DAVOS. Use that clout to: A. Steal 12,000 crore B. Slip out of the country like Mallya, while the government looks the other way.”
The Ministry of External affairs on Friday suspended the passports of Modi and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi for four weeks and said it would revoke the passports if they do not get in touch with the ministry in the next seven days.
The government has attached 29 properties and 105 accounts linked to Modi and his family.
“After suspension of his passport, he cannot move to a different location. Wherever he is, he will remain in the same country,” the MEA spokesperson said.