Tribune News Service
Mumbai, February 16
Diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is embroiled in a Rs 11,000 crore scam at Punjab National Bank, may already be one up on the authorities by illegally acquiring the citizenship of a foreign country even while holding an Indian passport.
According to sources in the diamond industry, Modi like his brother Nishal was a long-term resident of Antwerp in Belgium, through which most of the stones traded in the world pass.
While Nishal is said to have surrendered his Indian passport while acquiring his Belgian citizenship, Nirav declared himself an Indian national.
Sources say Nirav was known among the close-knit Palanpuri Jain community, which dominates the Indian diamond industry, for holding dual citizenship.
The Modi brothers are the third generation in the family that is part of the diamond trade.
Whereas Nirav’s wife Ami is an American citizen, Nishal’s wife Ishita is the daughter of Goan mine owner
Dattaraj Salgaocar and granddaughter of the late Dhirubhai Ambani.
The brothers and their families had left India in January this year while their uncle Mehul Choksi too has been out of the country since January.
Nirav Modi has been sighted in Switzerland and is now reportedly holed up in a hotel in New York.
Should Modi be really holding a foreign travel document, he is unlikely to be affected by the Indian Government revoking his passport.
“On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the MEA has today suspended the validity of passports of Nirav Deepak Modi and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
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