Nirav Modi’s grand property up for sale

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PC Thomas / Newstracklive

London: Nirav Modi’s opulent apartment nestled in London is poised to fetch a staggering sum of Rs. 55 crore (£5.25 million) or more as it gears up for sale. The green light for the sale was granted by a UK court ruling on March 27th.

The legal battle involved Trident Trust Company (Singapore) as the claimant, with representations from the Enforcement Directorate (ED). This lavish apartment, owned by the 52-year-old diamond merchant who is on the run, is situated in the prestigious Marylebone area of central London.

 

 

Barrister Harish Salve, representing the ED, informed the court about the mutual decision to sell the asset, aiming to safeguard the interests of the primary beneficiary, likely the Indian government. This move also aims to prevent a hasty sale of the property.

The asset is linked to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud amounting to Rs. 16,672 crore, according to the ED. Nirav Modi has been entangled in extradition proceedings since 2022 after losing the legal battle in the Supreme Court.

The hearing, presided over by Master James Brightwell, saw Modi attending virtually from his confinement. The judge concluded, “I am satisfied that it is a reasonable decision to allow for the property to be sold for GBP 5.25 million or above.”

Master Brightwell acknowledged ED’s objections regarding the establishment of the trust holding the property. The trust was formed in December 2017 in the name of Nirav Modi’s sister, Purvi Modi, and their family as beneficiaries, making this case notably unusual.

Purvi Modi and her adult children refrained from participating in the proceedings as part of an arrangement with the Indian authorities. Nirav Modi asserted that he should be recognized as a beneficiary since he was the “true settler” of the trust.

Nirav Modi argued that he either gifted or loaned Rs. 6.5 crore (£625,000) to the trust, which was then utilized to purchase the property. He claims entitlement to any proceeds from the sale. Modi expressed apprehension that the ED might freeze any funds received from the sale.

In April 2021, the UK Home Secretary at the time, Priti Patel, issued Nirav’s extradition order based on Judge Sam Goozee’s ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

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