The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) on Monday served notice to absconder diamantaire Nirav Modi, his family members and his companies to recover over Rs 7,000 crore owed to the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
The notice by the DRT-1 Registrar, A. Murali, came six months after the beleaguered PNB had moved the tribunal in July to recover around Rs 7,029 crore. This includes the principal component of around Rs.6,800 crore plus interest.
The accused-defendents include seven individuals and nine group companies, and all are barred from disposing off, transferring, or entering into any transactions pertaining to the secured properties, the notice said.
They have been allowed time till January 15, 2019, to reply to the notice, failing which the PNB plea would be decided ex-parte.
Besides Nirav Modi, the notice has been slapped on his wife Ami, their children Rohin, Ananya and Apasha, his brothers Nehal Deepak Modi, Neeshal Deepak Modi, Deepak Keshavlal Modi and sister Purvi Mayank Mehta, at their last-known Mumbai addresses.
In the notice, nine companies, among them Stellar Diamonds, Solar Exports, Diamond RUS, Firestar International Ltd., Firestar Diamond International Pvt. Ltd., ANM Enterprises, NDM Enterprises, all based in Mumbai, besides the branches of some companies in Surat (Gujarat) and Japiur (Rajasthan) have been named.
In February, PNB had admitted to a massive fraud, which later climbed up to around Rs 13,600 crore, shaking the foundations of the Indian banking sector.
It revealed shocking details of how Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, in connivance with some bank officials had duped the bank by issuing fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) for the huge amount at PNB's flagship Brady House Branch in south Mumbai, since 2011.
The bank's plea before the DRT Mumbai came shortly after the InterPol issued Red Corner Notices (RCNs) against Nirav Modi and other accused in the case.
Later in August, a Special Court under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, issued summons to Nirav Modi and others in an Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea.
The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have already raided 260 premises of the accused and non-bailable warrants of arrest are pending execution.
Barring some bank officials who have been arrested, all the other accused are still at large.