India Taking all Steps for Extradition of Nirav Modi: MEA
When an UK-based news outlet approached Nirav Modi with questions on a busy road, he responded with “No Comments”.
Fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, one of the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank scam, is living openly in an ‘$8 million apartment’ in London’s West End, reported The Telegraph.
Journalists from the paper reportedly confronted Modi on a busy London street.
‘All Necessary Steps Are Being Taken For His Extradition’: MEA
Responding to reports of Modi being sighted in London, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that “just because he has been spotted, doesn't mean he will be extradited to India. The process is on."
“All necessary steps are being taken for the extradition of Nirav Modi. We have been aware of his presence in UK. It (extradition request) is under their (UK government’s) consideration,” he added, as per ANI.
On being asked how Modi was able to travel or conduct his business in other countries like Belgium despite an Interpol Red Corner Notice being issued against him, Kumar said that this does not come under the purview of the MEA.
“The UK authorities or other investigative agencies will know about this. You can contact them for this information,” he said.
Will Extend All Necessary Help to UK for Extradition: CBI
The CBI has also extended all necessary help to the United Kingdom authorities for extradition of Nirav Modi, reported PTI.
The CBI is awaiting a response on its extradition request, which was sent to the United Kingdom through the External Affairs Ministry in August last year after the confirmation from London that Modi was in their country, agency spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.
The United Kingdom has responded to the Red Corner Notice issued by the agency against Modi in June last year, he said.
“We are willing to extend all help to the United Kingdom through External Affairs Ministry in ensuring extradition of Nirav Modi,” Wakankar said.
Extradition Request Sent to Court
The United Kingdom's home secretary has recently referred India's request for Modi to a court for initiating legal proceedings against Modi, official sources said on Saturday, reported PTI.
News agency ANI said that he UK Central Authority of Home Office confirmed that the extradition request has been sent to Westminster Magistrate Court for the District Judge for further proceedings.
Sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said they had been officially informed about UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's move to forward the case to a London court about two days back.
This move takes the process of extraditing and bringing back Modi to face the law in India to the next stage, the sources said, the PTI report added.
Soon, they said, a joint team of the ED and the CBI would travel to the UK to apprise the lawyers about the Indian case and evidence against Modi, in a similar fashion that was done in the case of another absconding bank-fraud accused, Vijay Mallya.
Nirav Modi Lives in a Luxurious London Bungalow, Has a New Diamond Venture: Report
According to The Telegraph’s report, he occupies a three-bedroom flat in a chic street in Central London. The Telegraph reported that the rent for a such a property would be approximately $17,000 a month.
The report adds that Modi, whose business bank accounts and a flagship store in Old Bond Street was closed by Indian authorities, continues to own a diamond business, which he runs from an office in Soho, near his new apartment.
The business, the report says, was incorporated last year and is linked to his flat since he is not listed as a director at Companies House. The reports adds that the business is listed as ‘a wholesale trader in watches and jewellery and a retailer of watches and jewellery in specialised stores’ on Companies House.
When The Telegraph approached him on the way back from his office, Modi, who sported a handle-bar moustache and wore an expensive jacket, repeatedly answered by saying “no comments” to a series of questions, including whether he has sought asylum in the United Kingdom.
Modi was also reportedly given a National Insurance number recently by the UK Department for Work & Pensions and was also allowed to operate online bank accounts in the UK despite India requesting his extradition, added The Telegraph quoting top government sources.
In June last year, the Interpol had issued a Red Corner notice against Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and his employee Subhash Parab on the request of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In its Red Corner Notice issued against a fugitive, the Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.
Journalists Managed What the Govt Could Not Do: Congress
Shortly after the report on Modi’s whereabouts, Twitter was flooded with reactions to the news.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala mockingly called the video a trailer of a hypothetical film on Modi’s life.
A video of Surjewala was also shared on Twitter, taunting PM Modi for his failure to capture Nirav Modi and his Mehul Choksi. In his verse, Surjewala called the jeweller Chhota Modi and said that PM Modi had helped Nirav Modi and Choksi loot the country and banks. He ended his poem with ‘Modi hai toh mumkin hai’ (It is possible if Modi is there.)
The Congress’ Twitter handle questioned why journalists at The Telegraph had been able to track Nirav Modi down while the Modi government had not been able to do so.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha pointed out apparent similarities between PM Modi and the jeweller Nirav Modi, bringing back the ChowkidaarChorHai hashtag.
Politician and academic Yogendra Yadav also reacted to the video put out by The Telegraph.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said this was no surprise since the ‘chowkidar’ was helping his friends loot the country.
Activist Umar Khalid called it proof of the ‘chowkidaar’s inefficiency’.
Nirav Modi’s Alibaug Bungalow Demolished
On Friday, 8 March, Nirav Modi’s sprawling seaside mansion in Alibaug was demolished using explosives.
A few days ago, detonators were fixed at various points on the bungalow – located around 110 km from Mumbai – to carry out the 'implosion' and bring it down in a single-shot.
Modi, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi and others, is the prime accused in the Rs 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.
Though the Alibaug bungalow was not directly linked with the PNB scam, it was attached by the ED along with his known assets in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other places in an effort to recover a part of the dues from Modi.
Built in 2009-2010, on a 70,000 square feet plot, the 33,000 square feet bungalow with several bedrooms is accessible through a long driveway, protected by high metal fencing and a huge security gate, and was noted for lavish parties hosted here regularly.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)
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