Jeweller Nirav Modi left India in the first week of January.
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi has been declared as an absconder in connection with a case of custom duty evasion. Chief Judicial Magistrate of Surat on Wednesday issued an order proclaiming Modi as an absconder under Section 82 CrPC.
Nirav Modi had fled the country earlier this year, days before state-owned Punjab National Bank’s complained against his companies, saying it had been cheated of an estimated Rs 13,500 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit. He is currently in the United Kingdom, seeking asylum.
The case dates back to 2014, when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence booked Modi for allegedly importing high-value diamonds through his units in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Surat and sold them in the domestic market. To evade import duty, he exported low-quality diamonds and pearls and claimed that these were the ones imported earlier and processed, the DRI alleged.
As per the SEZ norms, duty-free import of goods by the units located in the SEZ is permitted only if the goods are to be used as raw material and are exported after value addition or processing.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized six consignments of diamond-studded jewellery from Surat Hira bourse in Mumbai, which the three firms, owned by Modi, had declared to be worth Rs 94.37crore, but on valuation they were found to be of Rs 4.83 crore. The consignment was meant to be sent by the Modi’s firms in the Surat SEZ to the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Dubai, on December 5, 2014.