India also asked UAE to extradite Nirav

India also asked UAE to extradite Nirav

Apart from requesting the United Kingdom, India has also approached the United Arab Emirates, seeking extradition of Nirav Modi, wanted for defrauding Punjab National Bank of over Rs 14,000 crore.

New Delhi has also requested UAE authorities to extradite the fugitive diamantaire's brother Neeshal Modi and close aide Subhash Shankar Parab. Besides, two separate requests were sent to Belgian and Egyptian governments, seeking extradition of Neeshal and Parab, respectively.

The government had earlier made it public that it had requested the UK authorities to extradite Nirav to stand trial in India. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha that it had also requested the UAE authorities for extraditing the diamond merchant.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh informed the Lower House of Parliament in response to a question that the request for extradition of Nirav, Neeshal and Parab was sent to the UAE government in August.

He also informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that a separate request for extradition of Neeshal had been sent to Belgium Government in October 2018. Another request for the extradition of Parab was forwarded to the Egyptian government in the same month, Singh added.

It is, however, not yet clear whether New Delhi sent the extradition request to Abu Dhabi after receiving any specific input that the fugitive diamond merchant had been spotted anywhere in UAE.

Singh had on August 2 last informed the Rajya Sabha that a request for extradition of Nirav had been sent to High Commission of India in London for “onward transmission” to the UK government.

India has all along been finding it easier to bring back its fugitives from the UAE than from any other country.

While India could get 66 of its fugitives extradited from other countries since 2002, the UAE alone sent 18 of them, including Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland chopper scam, who was brought back from Dubai to New Delhi on December 4. The UAE also deported two other fugitives to India.

India, on the other hand, has been finding it very difficult to get its fugitives extradited from the UK. Though India has a bilateral extradition treaty with the UK since 1993, it did not help much.

The UK’s complex legal system provides enough safeguards for fugitives from other nations to resist extradition. While India sought extradition of 29 fugitives from the UK since 2002, only one – 2002 Gujarat riot accused Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel – could be brought back so far.

The Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on December 10 cleared the way for UK Home Secretary to take a call on New Delhi's request for extradition of business tycoon Vijay Mallya to India, where he is wanted for money-laundering and loan-default. Mallya, however, is likely to move the UK High Court, challenging the ruling of the Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Nirav left India on January 1, while his business associate and uncle Mehul Choksi did so on January 4 – much before the PNB lodged a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that the duo had defrauded it of Rs 280 crore.

The complaints lodged by the PNB took the quantum of the scam to over Rs 14000 crore. Mehul got citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 – months before the scam came to light and the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate launched investigations. New Delhi also sent two separate requests to Antigua and Barbuda, seeking extradition of Mehul.

The MEA had on February 16 revoked the passports issued to Nirav and Mehul. The Interpol had issued two Red Corner Notices against both of them.

Singh had informed the Rajya Sabha earlier that New Delhi had on March 23 requested the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to provisionally arrest Nirav. The HKSAR authorities later informed New Delhi that the fugitive jeweller had left Hong Kong much before the request for his provisional arrest was made.