The former celebrity diamond designer and fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, who fled India last year after defrauding state-owned PNB of Rs 13,700 crore, is living a luxurious life in London's high-end Oxford street despite India's efforts to arrest him. The ED may have seized his assets worth over Rs 6,500 crore in India, but the economic offender still seems to have a large sum of cash left to burn. This is evident from the fact that Nirav Modi, when he was spotted on the streets of London, was wearing a jacket made from "ostrich hide", which cost no less than 10,000 pounds (over Rs 9 lakh).
In a video released by the UK-based newspaper on Saturday, the absconding diamantaire was seen sporting a highly expensive jacket made of ostrich skin. With a handlebar mustache and gray beard, Nirav Modi can be heard avoiding question posed by the reporter. All he said is, "No comments" before walking away in search of a cab.
The diamond merchant, who is wanted by the Indian agencies in the biggest banking fraud in India's history, is also reportedly living in a swanky 8 million pounds (over Rs 72 crore) apartment situated in London's West End and running a diamond business.
What has caught everyone's eye is his ostrich leather jacket, which is considered one of the most expensive leathers in the world. This has also led to a flurry of jokes on social media. Many of Twittertits cannot believe the fact that India's most wanted fugitive economic offender is just walking around the streets of London' in a highly expensive jacket. While many confessed they had never even heard of ostrich leather before, some expressed 'sympathy' saying Nirav Modi had to avail a cab notwithstanding the fact that he was wearing such an expensive jacket.
For the average earning individual, wearing a Rs 9-lakh jacket indeed seems a luxury. However, according to people who work in the ostrich leather industry, this price tag is nothing when compared to products made of alligator and crocodile skins, which was considered the most expensive leathers in the world. Last year, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager who is facing a bevy of bank and tax fraud charges, was also spotted wearing a $15,000 Ostrich Hide coat and had attracted a lot of criticism from US citizens.
The fugitive diamond merchant, who has been on the run since February 2018, has also got UK's Nation Insurance Number, which is normally provided to UK nationals only and allows people to do business, carry out bank transactions, etc, legally.
While the Indian government is trying hard to capture Nirav Modi, the video has given new opportunities to the opposition to target the government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Nirav Modi along with his uncle and partner Mehul Choksi left the country last year before the CBI started investigating the PNB scam.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar