Surat, Aug 8: The Customs Department at Surat in Gujarat moved a local court today, requesting that fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi be declared an absconder in a duty evasion case.
The department filed an application before Chief Judicial Magistrate B H Kapadia, seeking to proclaim Nirav Modi as absconder under the Code of Criminal Procedure after he failed to respond to an arrest warrant issued by the court in July.
Public prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala said that a case for alleged customs duty evasion has been registered against Nirav Modi by the central excise commissioner's office here. Nirav Modi's firm here had imported rough and unpolished diamonds under a government scheme, whereby import duties were waived if the material was meant for export after processing.
The firm was expected to export these high-value imported diamonds after value addition such as cutting and polishing. Nirav Modi allegedly sold the diamonds in domestic market in Surat, thus evading the import duties. He exported low-quality diamonds to the US, Dubai and other countries, passing them off as the processed high-quality diamonds which he had imported, according to the case filed against him under the Customs Act.
In March, the Mumbai branch of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had also registered a case against Nirav Modi and his firm located in the Surat Special Economic Zone in the same matter, accusing them of evading customs duty of Rs 52 crore. Nirav Modi, accused of cheating Punjab National Bank of USD 2 billion in a scam involving Letters Of Undertaking, fled the country in January this year. The magistrate's court is expected to hear the customs department's application next week.