Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is accused in a Punjab National Bank scam worth Rs 13,500 crore, is in the United Kingdom, UK authorities have reportedly confirmed.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the UK authorities sent the confirmation about Modi’s presence in the country through an email on Aug. 19, while replying to a diffusion notice issued against him by the Indian agency to the Interpol, IANS reported citing an official.
The CBI moved an application for Modi’s extradition on Aug. 20, it added.
“The Home Ministry has also been requested to move its extradition request to the Ministry of External Affairs and through the MEA to the UK authority,” the report quoted the official as saying.
The Indian government had earlier this month informed the parliament that a request for Modi’s extradition was sent to the Indian High Commission in London to be forwarded to the UK authorities.
In July, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued red corner notices against Modi, his brother Neeshal Modi and close associate Subhash Parab.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had filed a 12,000-page charge sheet in the scam involving the Gitanjali Group, approached the Interpol in March for an international arrest warrant against the billionaire businessman.
The scam, in which Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi is also named, was allegedly conducted by defrauding the Indian bank during 2011-17 by raising credit from overseas branches of other Indian banks using illegal Letters of Undertaking issued by employees at PNB’s Mumbai branch.
Modi’s wife Ami Modi, who is a U.S. citizen, and his brother Nishal Modi, a Belgian citizen, have also been booked in various CBI cases.
Modi fled India in January, just before the news of the Punjab National Bank fraud broke out. India cancelled the passports of both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi in February.
Choksi, who paid for citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda, has refused to return to India, claiming he fears for his life in the country. Antigua said it granted him citizenship last year after getting an all-clear message from Indian officials.
India has requested the United Kingdom for extradition of 29 fugitives since 2002. Modi is among the other high-profile scam-accused Indians, such as Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, who fled to the United Kingdom. India is already seeking extradition of Mallya so he can face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.