The CBI has moved an extradition request to the UK authorities after it was confirmed on Sunday that fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi was in Britain. In a mail, the UK authorities confirmed his presence after the CBI sent a diffusion notice to the Interpol regarding the celebrity jeweller.
Nirav Modi and his uncle and partner Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the ED and the CBI after it was detected that they allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,700 crore with the purported involvement of a few of its employees. There are chances that the UK might accept India's extradition request as the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had informed India in June that it could initiate extradition proceedings against Nirav Modi even though his exact whereabouts at that time were uncertain.
This month, Minister of State for External Affairs, told Parliament that India had sent an extradition request to the UK government regarding Nirav Modi. Of total 29 extradition requests sent by India, the UK has accepted 20 such applications in the past 16 years.
Though India had revoked passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in February, they allegedly kept on travelling to different countries on multiple Indian passports, with his last documented exit from the UK at the end of March by air to Paris. It remains unclear exactly how many passports Modi has been travelling on in the recent months.
Earlier it was reported that strict data protection laws in the UK had prevented the British government from confirming if he had indefinite leave to remain in the UK or if he had sought to apply for political asylum. On July 26, a PMLA court in Mumbai summoned Modi and Choksi to appear before it on September 25 and 26, respectively, on the Enforcement Directorate's plea seeking action against them under the new fugitive economic offenders' law.
It was revealed in July that Choksi had got citizenship of Antigua, one of the two major Caribbean islands that make up the sovereign nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Later, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua & Barbuda said Choksi was given citizenship after "extensive vetting". Mehul Choksi, as well as his partner Nirav Modi, fled the country in the first week of January, just two weeks before PNB first reported the biggest banking scam.
(Edited by Manoj Sharma)