Nirav Modi says he cannot return to India due to "death threats"
today Dec 3, 2018
Nirav Modi does not want to return to India to stand trial as he fears a mob lynching, the accused jewellery tycoon’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
In a plea to counter the ED’s continued efforts to officially declare him a fugitive under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Nirav Modi has argued that he cannot return to India to stand trial for his accused fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) as he fears for his life. However, the ED argues that any threats are “irrelevant” to the fraud case.
"In a letter addressed to both the CBI and the ED, Modi had stated that he was not able to join the probe because of security threats [in India] from private persons, the families of those who have been detained [in the PNB case], landlords, the creditors who have not been paid and the customers whose jewellery was taken away by the ED," Agarwal said, as reported by the Press Trust of India.
Agarwal reported that Modi has said: "My 50-foot tall effigy was burnt in India. There was evidence of a mob lynching [against me] and I was being compared with 'Ravan'. I have been projected as evil and being made the poster boy of the bank fraud."
ED council member Hiten Venegaonkar countered: "As far as security threats are concerned, any prudent person who is fearing threats to his life needs to file a police complaint. Until now, there is no material before the ED or the court. So these points are irrelevant."
Nirav Modi’s uncle and fellow accused Mehul Choksi has also refused to return to India for fear of a mob lynching and is now citing ill health as the reason that he cannot return. Indian authorities are working to extradite both Modi and Choksi from the UK and Antigua respectively.
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