New Delhi: Agencies probing the alleged USD 2-billion PNB fraud have detected that absconding diamond merchant Nirav Modi possessed at least half-a-dozen Indian passports and a fresh FIR is being mulled against him for this offence, officials said.
Modi has been traced to Belgium by Indian intelligence agencies and his frequent travels, despite the revocation of his passport, have led the sleuths to unearth that of the six passports he held, two were active for quite some time. The four other passports were found to be not active, sources said. Of the two active passports, one had Modi’s full name while the other only had his first name with a 40-month UK visa issued against it and that is probably how he kept travelling to various countries, despite the government revoking his first known passport earlier this year, the sources told PTI.
The second passport was also subsequently revoked by the Indian authorities. The sources said the government, through the ministry of external affairs, has informed the Interpol about the two revoked passports of Modi, but it appears that in the absence of a uniform international mechanism, the legal blocking of the documents in various countries could not be done and the fugitive kept using those to travel through airports and possibly seaports, too.
“It is a criminal offence to use a revoked passport and also to possess more than one valid passport, if a person does not enjoy a special status like that of a diplomatic entity, a government employee or on a few other grounds. “A fresh criminal FIR may be filed against Nirav Modi and he may face prosecution for the offence after the completion of an internal inquiry,” a senior official in the security establishment said.
India had revoked Nirav Modi’s passport in February; yet that did not stop him from travelling abroad. That essentially means either the countries he visited may not have been communicated about the revocation of his passport, or they chose not to entertain India’s request. Officials say he initially had a passport belonging to the N series. After that was filled up, the subsequent passports issued were of Z series since he is a frequent traveller. He could have used the four to five extended passports as they have had long-term valid visas, sources told NDTV.