New Delhi : Indian investigators have tried to choke funds of the absconding celebrity diamantaire Nirav Modi to scuttle his legal fight in the British courts and at the Interpol, learning a lesson from how fugitive former MP Vijay Mallya and former IPL boss Lalit Modi used money to power their long legal battle.

Sources in the External Affairs Ministry said multiple letters rogatory (LRs) have gone out to various countries where Nirav had set up the offices to freeze his bank accounts on the ground that he is an absconder wanted in India for defrauding a score of banks. The LRs to Belgium specifically

refers to his four companies having together Rs 20.5 crore in their bank accounts.

Similar LRs have gone out to the United States and Hong Kong to choke flow of funds to the UK where Nirav is suspected to be hiding. The investigating agencies want to choke his flow of funds before moving the extradition request to the British Government.

The Enforcement Directorate sources said they had already filed a 12,000-page charge sheet in a special court in Mumbai last month and it moved the court to take its cognizance and issue non-bailable warrants against Nirav Modi and his family members in over US $2 billion fraud with the Punjab National Bank.

The agencies adopted the new tactic of first freezing Nirav’s sources of funds after learning that he might have roped in Mallya’s legal team to help him. While Lalit Modi procured a European passport, Mallya roams freely in UK after India failed to get an Interpol Red Corner Notice issued against him. The authorities do not want to leave any loophole that also allows Nirav Modi to escape being brought to India to stand trial, the sources said.

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