Diamond merchant Nirav Modi is known as a fugitive fraudster wanted in the Rs 14,000 crore bank scam in India. There is a red corner notice against him by the Interpol. But Mr Modi is silently not just living, but also carrying on with his diamond business in London. On March 9, he was spotted by a media correspondent in a new avatar (see the images above) with stubble and handlebar mustache.
Once upon a time, Nirav Modi was the darling of celebrities in the entertainment world as he offered them unique and exquisite diamond jewelry. He even walked the Oscar red carpet a few times with Hollywood queens. One would wonder, then, how the suave billionaire merchant came to live in hiding.
Here is a quick look on his life so far:
- 1971: Born into a diamond business family in Palanpur, Gujarat, and grew up in Antwerp, Belgium.
- 1989: Returned to India with his father to work with his uncle Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Group with over 4,000 stores
- 1999: Founded Firestone Trading, a diamond sourcing and trading company
- 2002: His Company began manufacturing jewellery
- 2004: Opened Firestar International Limited
- 2005: He acquired Frederick Goldman, a jewellery manufacturing firm in the US.
- 2007: He acquired Sandberg & Sikorski, another jewellery manufacturing firm in the US.
- 2008: Created Nirav Modi brand of jewellery, which had intricate designs as USP
- 2010: His Golconda Lotus diamond necklace was picked at Christie’s Autumn Jewellery Auction in Hong Kong for around $3.56 million
- 2012: His Riviere of Perfection diamond necklace was sold for $5.1 million at the Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong
- 2014: He launched the first Nirav Modi diamond store in New Delhi’s Defence Colony
- 2015: Opened stores at Khala Ghonda, Mumbai, Madison Avenue in New York City, and in Hong Kong
- 2016: Opened two more stores in Hong Kong and one in Macau
- 2017: In January, the Income Tax department raided over 50 places, including his residence, and a tax evasion of Rs 500 crore was allegedly unearthed. Transactions through shell companies were also reported. The Firestar International reported a net profit Rs 582.08 crore for the year 2016-17.
- 2018 January: On 1st, Nirav Modi left India with his brother, followed by his uncle Medul Choksi and his wife Ami later. On 29th, Punjab National Bank (PNB) filed a complaint with the CBI against all the four mentioned above against a cheating case involving Rs 280 crore.
- 2018 February: PNB claimed fraudulent transactions since March 2011 till date, by the firms of Modi-Choksi, was actually over Rs 11,000 crore. The bank suspends 10 of its officials. Within a week the Enforcement Directorate (ED seizes) diamonds, jewellery, precious stones worth Rs 5,100 from the properties of Modi-Choski; seeks revocation of the passports of the duo.
- 2018 March: ED attached his property worth Rs 147 crore. On 7th Firestar Diamond applies for bankruptcy at a Manhattan court in the US.
- 2018 May: The scam got bigger touching Rs14,356
- 2018 June: Interpol to issued a red corner notice against Nirav Modi and Nishal Modi on CBI’s request
- 2018 July: Request for extradition of Nirav Modi to India sent to the UK government
- 2018 August: MD and CEO of Allahabad Usha Ananthsubramanian Bank got dismissed
- 2018 December: Interpol issued a red corner notice against Mehul Choski on CBI’s request
- 2019 March: On 7th, the UK Central Authority of Home Office sends the extradition request to the West Minister Magistrate Court for the District Judge. On 8th, a seaside mansion of Nirav Modi in Alibaug was demolished on a court order. On 9th Nirav Modi is spotted by a correspondent in London.