Jeweler diamantaire Nirav Modi is a name which evokes consternation, anger and even satire. Priyanka Chopra, Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson are among those who have appeared bedecked in his designs. Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi seem to have written themselves out of the books of Punjab National Banks right back into them with media glare intensifying the action initiated against them by multiple investigating agencies including the CBI, ED and Income Tax, among others. Here's the journey of The Rise And Rise Of Nirav Modi At The Cost Of PNB.
Who Is Nirav Modi?
Nirav Modi, born into a virtually unknown Jain family in Palanpur on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border rocketed to fame, riding the INR 11,400 cr scam which has been grabbing the headlines over the last few days.
In the eye of the Nirav Modi fraud, the biggest ever in the country's banking history, is the nationalized Punjab National Bank. While Modi is reported to be staying in a luxury hotel suite in Manhattan, media channels here have erupted into a state of frenzy trying to piece together the $1.77 billion scam puzzle. Meanwhile, the banking sector still has to come to grips with the scam which has shaken it to the core.
Nirav Modi, who grew up in Antwerp in Belgium, belongs to a family of diamantaires, which moved to the diamond capital of the world.
Nirav Modi'S Journey From College Drop-Out To Celebrity Jeweller
A college drop-out, Nirav Modi quit the prestigious Wharton School to join his uncle, Mehul Choksi in the family business, Gitanjali Gems in Mumbai.
Reports say that Modi entered the jewellery business as a designer in 2009, and moved quickly up the ranks to become a prominent name in the trade. He raised industry eyebrows when a specially designed diamond necklace fetched $3.56 million at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong. Modi's Riviere Diamond necklace was sold for $5.1 million at an auction held by Sotheby's in Hong Kong in 2012.
Even while Punjab National Bank failed to detect the loot in its backyard, Nirav Modi's luxury brand opened an outlet on the prestigious Madison Avenue. He also made history by becoming the first Indian to feature on the cover of Christie's auction catalogue. Thanks to the generosity of PNB, aided by the corrupt ways of some of its officials, Nirav Modi's stock only rose higher and higher, as he walked on the Red Carpet at the Oscar Awards ceremony in 2014 alongside Kate Winslet.
Modi's Firestar Diamond, his flagship company with a global presence, is at the heart of his diamond empire. A $2.3 billion company, Modi rode on its success scamming PNB and in the bargain, made it to the Forbes list of global billionaires at the age of 42.
How Much Is Nirav Modi Worth?
Nirav Modi's net worth according to Forbes, as of October 2017, was $1.8 billion. He is married to Ami, a US citizen and the couple have three children--a son and two daughters. Starting out with designing a pair of ear rings for a friend, to becoming a household name in India for all the wrong reasons, Nirav Modi has well and truly come a long way. All one needs is a publisher to rope him in to author a manual which would say, "How To Rob A Big Indian Bank On Your Way To Fame". The inimitable R.K. Laxman saw this coming when he sketched a legendary cartoon years ago. The cartoon—which portrays a bank offical persuading a robber pointing a gun at him to go in for a loan instead—has been doing the rounds on social media.
It sums up the Nirav Modi scam better than most television anchors and newspaper articles possibly can. Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vikram Kothari, the promoter of Rotomac pen, now join the likes of Vijay Mallya, even as banks jolted out of their slumber, appear to bolt the doors of their stables.