The British government has finally started the process to determine if fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi should be sent back to India, almost eight months after New Delhi sought his extradition from the United Kingdom.
British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, certified New Delhi’s request and sent it to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which would now decide whether a warrant should be issued for arrest of the jeweller.
“The UK Central Authority of Home Office has confirmed that the Extradition Request has been sent to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the District Judge for further proceedings,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) posted on Twitter on Saturday.
The ED tweeted about the British government’s action on New Delhi’s request for extradition of Modi just hours after the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper reported that its journalists had “tracked the jeweller down to a three-bedroom flat occupying half of a floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, with views across London”. The rent for the property is said to be about £17,000 a month, reported The Telegraph.
A video posted on paper’s website showed Modi repeatedly saying “Sorry, No Comment” in response to questions posed by The Telegraph’s journalists.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) earlier on Saturday said that it had not received any response from the British government to New Delhi’s request for extradition of the fugitive diamantaire from the UK to India.
The MEA in August 2018 sent two requests – one by the Enforcement Directorate and another by the Central Bureau of Investigation – to the British government seeking extradition of Modi, who was accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of about Rs 14,000 crore.
“The fact that we made requests to the UK Government seeking his extradition to India meant that we were aware that he was in the UK,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the MEA, told journalists in New Delhi, responding to queries on The Telegraph’s report.
The Telegraph reported that Nirav was now “involved in a new diamond business run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his new apartment” in London.
“Modi (Nirav), who has grown a handlebar moustache since becoming a fugitive, takes a daily walk from his flat to his new office with his dog,” The Telegraph reported. “When the Telegraph spoke to him, he was wearing a jacket made from Ostrich hide, costing at least £10,000.” If the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London issues a warrant against Modi, he will be arrested by police and brought before the judge, who will then release him on bail and start the hearing on extradition.
If the court finally clears his way for extradition, it will send it back to the office of the British Home Secretary who will then take a call whether or not to approve his extradition to India.
Modi, however, can move the High Court to appeal against the verdict of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court as well as the decision of British Home Secretary.
He can also move the Supreme Court of the UK if the verdict of the High Court also goes against him.