Diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted for fraud amounting to thousands of crores, is reportedly seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
It was in June last year that Indian authorities had first sought help in tracing the whereabouts of Modi, who along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, are wanted for their roles in the Punjab National Bank fraud case. The Ministry of External Affairs was informed last week that Modi was living in the UK.
On 5 January, Modi in his response to an anti-corruption court said that all his dealings with PNB were “civil transactions” that had been “blown out of proportion”. The court was hearing a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate to have Modi declared a “fugitive economic offender” under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
He also said that he was unable to return to India due to “security reasons”. Modi and Choksi have not returned to India despite multiple summons.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh told the Rajya Sabha that two requests, one from the CBI and one from the ED, seeking Modi’s extradition to India were currently under consideration by British authorities.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) , a statutory corporate fraud investigating agency, is yet to submit its report on the scam.
India has been trying to secure the two extraditions for a while now. In December last, the Interpol had issued a red corner notice against Mehul Choksi, on the back of a CBI request to bring Choksi under the provisions of a law that allows for the extradition of a fugitive to a Commonwealth country, officials told NDTV. Choksi is believed to be living in Antigua and Bermuda.
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