This London boutique was where Nirav Modi stayed when the $2-billion PNB fraud exploded

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 25, 2018 17:47 hrs
Nirav Modis

The store front on Old Bond Street, London.

When this grand store was launched, it was termed up-market, suave, and polished. The launch of this store in itself was quite a star-studded affair. A video of this Nirav Modi store's grand launch was uploaded sometime one and half years ago.

Placed adjacent to a Saint Laurent, Akris, Rolex, and opposite to Prada outlets, this Nirav Modi store was promoted as a showstopper on the Old Bond Street in the posh Mayfair area in London.

Surprisingly, the boutique store remained open to business even after Punjab National Bank, India's second largest state-run bank by assets, claimed that it's owner had defrauded the bank of just over $2 billion.

Even as news reports detailed how $2 billion had been siphoned off without a drop of blood being bled, Modi was nowhere to be found. He was suddenly everywhere in the print and digital media, but a man not to be found.

The man who had made it to a frame that coincidentally also had the Prime Minister of India as well as a couple of bankers and industry stalwarts was suddenly untrackable, undetectable.

News reports claimed that this well-mannered, and usually courteous man could have been in Singapore. Then somebody said he was spotted somewhere in Dubai.

But he might have been in London all along. A recent report suggests Modi may have been biding time at an apartment above this up-market boutique store.

You don't have to be in London to find out who the neighbors of Nirav Modi's are.

The store which was running even when PNB's executives were being grilled by investigating officials, has been shut, and there is a popular belief that it's owner, once India's richest diamantaire has moved on to a safer location.

NiMo's passports have been revoked after Indian courts issued warrants against him and his uncle Mehul Choksi. The revocation was announced on February 23, after Indian law enforcement officials contacted Interpol and the UK government. 

But official records suggest that NiMo travelled unhindered from Heathrow Airport to Hong Kong on March 15, and from New York to Heathrow Airport back on March 28.

The Sunday Times reported that NiMo also flew from London to Paris on March 18. On June 12, Nirav Modi was thought to have boarded a Eurostar train from London to Brussels. The report further adds from unconfirmed sources that NiMo may have applied for asylum in UK.

The UK Home Office and Border Force said they usually does not reply to media queries on individual cases, but added a generic one-liner in this case. "All passengers attempting to enter the UK are subject to checks by Border Force officers to identify people of concern," said the agency.

Besides Nirav Modi's, there are quite a handful jewelry stores in the Mayfair area. Richard Odgen, Moussaieff Jewellers, Catherine Best, Sterling Diamonds, Morelle Davidson, Hancocks, Bentley and Skinner, Tiffany & Co etc are some of the popular names from the locality.

Do watch this grand opening of Nirav Modi's in London.

Besides London, there is a Nirav Modi store in Manhattan, New York City too.

And this Indian model got snapped in the frame during the launch. Watch the video here.

Amid the frenzy of news reporting in the Nirav Modi case, if you are keen to get a feel of how $2 billion can feel like, take a look at this palatial Umaid Bhavan from Jaipur, considered the finest hotel in the world according to a few patrons, being used for a Modi party.

Modi threw a lavish party here to celebrate 5 years of his brand.