Washington: The United States government said it cannot confirm if celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi - wanted in India's biggest banking fraud - is in the country. "We are aware of recent media reports that Nirav Modi is in the United States but cannot confirm them," the State Department spokesperson told news agency PTI.
Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and others are being investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after state-run Punjab National Bank complained that they cheated it of Rs. 11,400 crore with the involvement of a few of its own bank employees.
Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi left the country in the first week of January, before criminal cases were filed against them by the CBI. The agency filed the first case against them on February 14. Earlier this week, the Central Bureau of Investigation issued "look out circulars" against 10 senior executives from companies belonging to Nirav Modi and his uncle and promoter of Gitanjali gems Mehul Choksi.
Asked if the US State Department is providing any assistance to the Indian government in tracing Nirav Modi, the spokesperson said, "We refer you to the Department of Justice for questions on legal assistance to the Indian authorities in relation to their investigation of Mr. Modi." The Justice Department declined to comment on Nirav Modi.
PNB, which is India's second largest state-run bank, discovered illegal Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) - a bank guarantee issued for overseas import payments. These letters were cashed overseas from different banks.
(With inputs from PTI)