Nimo & uncle lose passports
New Delhi: Unless Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi turn so homesick or so badly miss their friends in high places that they feel the urge to walk into an Indian mission abroad and seek a one-time travel permit, the chances of them returning to India without a legal battle appear to have officially receded now.
Government sources said on Saturday that the passports of the scam-accused diamantaires had been revoked, activating the follow-up step after the documents were suspended a week ago.
The decision to revoke the passports was taken after Nirav and his uncle, accused of cheating Punjab National Bank of Rs 11,400 crore, failed to respond to notices sent to them on February 16, the sources said, although no official announcement was made.
The revocation after the suspension - which already meant the two could not leave the country where they are on an Indian passport - was largely academic. But in the administrative ladder, it does mark a climb up.
Once the passport is revoked, a citizen can travel back to India only on a one-time document called the "emergency certificate" issued by Indian diplomatic missions.
The existence of such a document had assumed relevance when Vijay Mallya surrendered his passport in a UK court. When it was suggested then that Mallya would be unable to return before the case is settled, the government had said travel documents could be arranged by the Indian mission in the UK for his return.
However, in the case of Nirav and Choksi, the government has so far not said where they are located. Neither is it clear if either holds a passport from any other country. Nirav was last seen in public on January 23 in Davos, posing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other businesspersons.