The Central government informed Parliament on Wednesday that fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, diamond merchants Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, and Lalit Suri are among 58 economic offenders living abroad who the government is pursuing through look out circulars (LoCs), Interpol red corner notices and extradition requests, says a Times of India report.
The government and investigation agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), are currently pursuing at least 16 extradition requests in the UAE, the UK, Belgium, Egypt, the US, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The government has also sent fresh requests for the extradition of two VVIP chopper scam middlemen, Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, to Italy in October, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a reply in the Lok Sabha. Their interrogation by the investigating agencies is crucial to connect the missing link in the Rs 3,600 crore scam.
The ministry informed the House that the extradition requests for Gerosa and Haschke had been sent in November 2017 and January 2018, respectively, but were returned by the Italian authorities. The CBI has already extradited Christian Michel, one of the three middlemen and accused in the case, from UAE this month. He has been accused of receiving about Rs 225 crore from the UK-based helicopter manufacturing company AgustaWestland to influence the deal in its favour. His involvement in the 12 VVIP helicopter deal surfaced in 2012 when he was accused of swinging the deal in favour of the company and making illegal payments to Indian officials.
Last week, the Interpol, on the request of the CBI, had also issued a Red Corner Notice against absconding billionaire Mehul Choksi, who along with Nirav Modi is accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 13,700 crore. Choksi, Managing Director of Gitanjali Gems Ltd, had fled India in January along with Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi and brother Nishal Modi.
In case of Nirav Modi, the government has issued two separate extradition requests to the UK in August, while separate extradition requests had been sent to the UAE against him, his brother Nishal and close aide Subhash Parab, the MEA said in its reply.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar