A Special CBI Court in Mumbai issued non-bailable warrants against billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi on Sunday in connection with the cases related to over USD 2 billion banking fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
The warrants were issued after request by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The special court has allowed the application of the agency for the issuance of NBWs against Modi and Choksi who had repeatedly refused to join the investigation in the scam, considered the biggest in the banking history of the country, the officials said.
The agency had written to Modi and Choksi to join probe on their official e-mail ids but they have refused to join it citing business engagements and health issues.
Earlier on March 8, the investigative agency had sent summons to both Nirav and Choksi to join investigations as early as possible.
The agency had sent three summons on February 19, 23 and 28 asking them to join the probe at the earliest. They were asked to appear on March 7.
Gitanjali Gems promoter Choksi, in his seven page letter had said it was impossible for him to return to India and join the investigation due to the suspension of his passport and ill-health.
The issuance of NBWs by a court also opens door of seeking Red Corner Notices against both of the accused from the Interpol.
The government has claimed to have tracked Modi in Hong Kong where it has sent a request for his provisional arrest.
The CBI, in the meanwhile, is questioning officials of overseas branches of Indian banks which had extended credit facilities to the companies of Modi and Choksi on the basis of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by the Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai.
The agency has also summoned the official who handled foreign exchange transactions in the Hong Kong branch of the Allahabad bank, they said, adding that he may join the probe soon.