Mr Bhansali was instrumental in rotation and diversion of the proceeds of crime generated in this case, sources said.
New Delhi: The Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Mihir R. Bhansali, right hand man of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) money laundering case.
The RCN, which is as an international arrest warrant, states Mr Bhansali, CEO of Nirav Modi’s jewellery firm in the USA — Firestar International, is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering.
The Central probe agency wants him to join the investigation in order to take the probe in the case forward, sources said. The agency had informed the Interpol that Mr Bhansali was likely to visit the US, the UK, Hong Kong, China or the UAE.
Sources added that the ED has identified Mr Bhansali as the second-in-command in Firestar Group after Nirav Modi, and that “he was actively involved in the diversion and laundering of the funds received from the alleged fraudulently issued Punjab National Bank’s LOUs (letters of undertaking)”. Mr Bhansali was instrumental in rotation and diversion of the proceeds of crime generated in this case, sources said.
Investigation by the ED has revealed that with the help of other officials of Firestar Group, Mr Bhansali inducted dummy partners in Solar Exports, Stellar Diamond and Diamond R US (Modi’s firms in whose names LOUs were issued), sources said. “He was also instrumental in formation of overseas dummy companies in Hong Kong and Dubai, and employees/ex-employees of Firestar Group were sent as dummy directors/owners in these entities at his directions,” the ED charged.
The ED, as part of its probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), found that a “secure internal email communication system was developed at Bhansali’s insistence and its server was deliberately kept in Dubai.” The ED alleged that after the PNB fraud came to light, Bhansali along with Nehal Modi (Nirav Modi’s brother), took 50 kg gold and substantial cash from Dubai, and directed dummy directors not to reveal his name before the authorities. It is alleged that the businessman is also a director in few of the dummy companies which are “controlled” by Nirav Modi and are based in the British Virgin Islands.