Who is Nirav Modi, the man at the centre of Rs 11,300-crore PNB fraud
Nirav Modi was more than just another diamond merchant, whose eponymous jewellery label blazed its trail across high streets of Madison Avenue or MGM Macau and Marina Bay Sands within a span of a decade to emerge as the biggest luxury label to have ever come out of Asia. Till the law caught up with him. Here are things we bet you did not know about Nirav Modi, the man in the eye of PNB storm.
The 46-year-old diamond merchant, who has always been at the centre of a glittering and effervescent universe, is a quintessentially sharp Gujarati entrepreneur, dead serious about building a global empire. The selection of his models, stores or even roping in former Facebook country head Krithiga Reddy as an advisor underscores that burning ambition.
Diamonds in DNA
For Modi, who has built a billion dollar enterprise, diamonds are in his DNA. His father also a diamond jeweller migrated to Antwerp Belgium but Modi returned to Mumbai to learn the trade from maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, who like Modi, have also faced allegations of fraud.
The Diamond Czar, whose pieces ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 crore have found a permanent perch across celebrity collarbones, had a breakout moment in 2010 when an intricately designed lattice necklace in pink and colourless diamonds racked up $3.56 million at the Christie’s Hong Kong auction.
His associates, however, argue that Modi-- the first Indian jeweller to get featured on the cover of Christie’s catalogue-- had been plotting his moves from much before. He had already in 2005, bought into Frederick Goldman, his biggest customer in the US. Two years later, Modi expanded his US distribution through a majority partnership in Sandberg & Sikorski, owners of the 120-year-old luxury bridal jewellery brand, A Jaffe.
Eye for detail
Modi was among the first to supply diamonds according to client specifications in the 1990s, assorting them by size, colour, weight and size to enhance the buying experience; the earliest to sense the shift in global manufacturing bases from Europe to Asia or even the importance of retail.
With CBI and other investigative agencies hot on his heels, his empire may come crashing at the same speed in which it took off in the first place.