A court in Surat Wednesday declared fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi as an absconder in a case filed against him by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence case (DRI) for allegedly evading customs duty on import of diamonds.
Modi fled the country this Jaunary before an alleged multi-billion dollars fraud at Punjab National Bank came to light and the CBI registered a case against him.
The case in Surat pertains to diversion of duty-free imported diamonds and pearls by Firestar International Pvt. Limited, Firestar Diamond International Pvt Ltd, and Radashir Jewellery Company, all situated in Surat SEZ and owned by Modi.
In the Surat SEZ, goods can be imported duty-free on the condition that they will be exported after value-addition (such as polishing and cutting of raw imported diamonds).
The DRI alleged that duty-free diamonds and pearls imported by these companies were secretly sold in local markets, and in their place locally produced products were exported.