Free Press Journal

Who is Nirav Modi? All you need to know about PNB scam and the jewellery designer’s tryst with Bollywood


Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi, the billionaire luxury diamond jewellery designer, founder, and creator of the Nirav Modi chain of diamond jewellery retail stores was booked by the CBI on February 5 for his involvement in the cheating case that involved transactions worth Rs 280 crore. In addition, on February 14, PNB filed two complaints against Modi after it detected fraudulent transactions worth USD 1.8 billion (over Rs 10,000 crore) in a South Mumbai corporate branch. After the fraud came into light the shares of the bank came down by 8 percent. The Income Tax department raided over 50 offices and residential premises owned by Modi and seized cash, jewellery and several documents that revealed tax evasion by his firms, including bogus documents of purchases and cash sales. According to India Today, on Thursday Nirav Modi has written to Punjab National Bank that he will repay the loans in six months.

Who is Nirav Modi?
Nirav Modi is the founder and creative director of Nirav Modi chain of diamond jewellery retail stores. He is also the Chairman of Firestar International.

Born into a Gujarati family, Modi grew up in Belgium’s Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world. To take up the diamond business Modi dropped out of the Wharton School of Pennsylvania in the US. He entered the retail business in 2010 and quickly gained a reputation after roping in Hollywood stars Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson after they walked the red carpet for his brand.  In 2014, he launched his first flagship store in Delhi followed by Mumbai. The designer made an entry into the Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2013 and since then has remained on the list. The Forbes describe him as one of the youngest billionaires of India. In 2016 Forbes billionaires list Modi was ranked 1,067 globally and 46 in India. While in 2017, he was ranked 57 on the list. His business is spread across three continents from China in Asia to Hawaii Islands in North America.

Also read: Enforcement Directorate raids Nirav Modi’s properties in Mumbai, other states

Tryst with Bollywood and Hollywood

nirav modi_bollywood_hollywood
In January 2017, actress Priyanka Chopra was roped in as the brand ambassador. The Desi girl along with Siddharth Malhotra featured in an advertisement which went viral. This is not the only Bollywood connection the brand has. In 2015, Lisa Haydon, Nimrat Kaur, and fashion model Coco Rocha launched Nirav Modi’s store in New York City. In 2016, Hayden alongside Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Romanian model Andreea Diaconu had a shoot for the brand. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty were even spotted wearing Nirav Modi’s creation. Not just Bollywood, the creation has been sported on Hollywood stars Kate Upton, Stella Maxwell and Karlie Kloss, among others. Hollywood star Taraji P Henson wore his designs at the Oscars and Dakota Johnson at the Golden Globes awards.

According to Times Now, Priyanka Chopra has claimed that the billionaire designer has defrauded her and not paid all her dues.

Nirav Modi stores

nirav modi stores

Nirav Modi has launched 16 stores across the globes including Delhi, Mumbai, New York, London, Hong Kong and Macau. According to reports, US President Donald Trump attended the inauguration of his first store on Madison Avenue in New York. It is the only brand to be featured on the Christie’s catalogue cover.

About the PNB scam

punjab national bank

On January 2017, PNB filed a complaint with the CBI regarding the fraudulent issuance of Letters of Understandings (LOU). The complaint alleged that Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, his brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi were in conspiracy with the officials of the bank and cheated it. The fraudulent issuance of letters was detected at the bank’s Mid Corporate Branch in Mumbai. Further investigations revealed that two of the bank employees issued LOUs without prescribed guidelines. The employees, to avoid detection made no entries in the banking system transmitted SWIFT instructions to the overseas branches to raise buyer’s credit.