Nirav Modi traced to UK, India requests for extradition

Activists of the youth wing of India's main opposition Congress party burn a cut-out with an image of billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi during a protest in Mumbai, India, February 23, 2018. REUTERS file photo for representation/Francis Mascarenhas/File phot

India has sent to its High Commission in London a formal request for the government of United Kingdom to extradite fugitive jeweler Nirav Modi, who has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of Rs 14000 crore.

The High Commission of India in London will forward the request for extradition of Nirav Modi to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Government.

V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the request for extradition of the jeweler from the UK had been sent to the High Commission of India in London.

He informed in a written reply to a question that the Ministry of External Affairs had received a request from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the extradition of Modi from the UK. “The request has been sent by a special diplomatic bag to the High Commission of India, London for onward transmission to the UK authorities,” added Singh.

Modi is going to be the 29th fugitive India asked UK to extradite since 2002. The UK Government in the past 16 years rejected India's request for extradition in case of nine fugitives. The UK courts declined to issue arrest warrants in case of three more fugitives whom New Delhi wanted London to extradite. In case of 15 other fugitives, including business tycoon Vijay Mallya, India's request to UK for extradition is still pending.

Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel is the only fugitive whom the UK extradited to India in the past 16 years.

Modi 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 that the duo had defrauded it of Rs 280 crore. The subsequent complaints lodged by the PNB took the quantum of the scam to about Rs 14000 crore.

Choksi 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 earlier this week sent High Commissioner of India to Guyana, V Mahalingam, to St John's, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda, to request the government of the West Indies island nation for extradition of the owner of Gitanjali Gems.

The MEA had on February 16 revoked the passports issued to Modi and Choksi by Government of India.

Singh on Thursday informed the Rajya Sabha that the Interpol had issued two Red Corner Notices against Modi.

He said that the ministry had “no means to verify the travels” of Modi and the passport he used for travelling after the revocation of the one issued by Government of India.

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 Modi.

The HKSAR authorities however later informed New Delhi that the fugitive jeweler had left Hong Kong much before the request for his provisional arrest was made.

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Nirav Modi traced to UK, India requests for extradition

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