New Delhi, April 11: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday told diamantaire Nirav Modi’s company, Firestar Diamond, to ask him to return to the country.
A bench of Judges S Muralidhar and I S Mehta came with the direction after the company’s lawyer said relief should not be denied to it on a technicality that Firestar International had authorised the filing of petitions by its subsidiary, Firestar Diamond, news agency PTI reported.
“If we should not stress upon technicality, then ask Mr Modi to come back. Ask him to come back,” the bench told advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for Firestar Diamond and Firestar International.
Responding to this, Aggarwal said ‘I don’t his whereabouts, I’m just handling company’s case’.
Expressing “serious concern” over the diamantaire’s statement that he will not submit to the jurisdiction of Indian agencies or courts, the bench stated “we are dealing with a fugitive here according to them (ED). A fugitive from justice stands on a different footing”.
Hearing in case filed by #NiravModi's Firestar Diamonds against ED's seizure of properties listed for 3 May. Today, Court told Firestar Diamonds' counsel to, 'ask Nirav Modi to return to India,' to which counsel replied, 'I don't his whereabouts, I'm just handling company's case'
— ANI (@ANI) April 11, 2018
The Enforcement Directorate has launched search operations and seized company’s assets in connection with a money laundering case related to the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.
The ED, represented by Additional Solicitor General Sandeep Sethi and centre standing counsel Amit Mahajan, had contended that no relief be granted to the two companies as Modi is a “fugitive from justice”, was “absconding” and not joining the investigation.
The bench also asserted there was merit in ED’s contention that while the “driving force behind the firms” (Modi) was not submitting to jurisdiction here, his companies cannot be given any discretionary relief.
The observations came during the hearing on the pleas of Modi’s and Mehul Choksi’s firms challenging the ED proceedings against them as well as various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The court fixed May 3 for next hearing in the matter.