The United Kingdom’s home secretary has recently referred India’s request for extraditing bank-fraud accused Nirav Modi to a court for initiating legal proceedings against the diamantaire after finding his case “fit for extradition”, official sources said Saturday.
British daily The Telegraph reported that Modi, accused in the USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, is living in a swanky 8 million pound apartment in London’s West End and is now involved in a new diamond business.
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.
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.
The ED and the CBI are investigating Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others for alleged money laundering and corruption to perpetrate the alleged scam in the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai that was unearthed last year.
Modi, 48, is currently living in a three-bedroom flat occupying half of a floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, where rent is estimated to cost 17,000 pounds a month, The Telegraph reported.
The revelation comes a day after Modi’s 30,000 sq ft seaside mansion at Kihim beach in Maharashtra’s Raigad district was demolished by authorities using explosives for alleged violation of coastal regulation rules.
Read | Fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi spotted in London, has started new diamond business: Report
The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said the government was aware of his whereabouts, and that its extradition request for the absconding billionaire was “still pending” with the United Kingdom authorities.
India is taking all steps necessary for his extradition, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
“You are aware that we had made the request based on the information received from the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). We had made the request for Nirav Modi’s extradition with the UK authorities in August last year,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference in New Delhi.
According to Raveesh Kumar, ED had sent a request to MEA in early August 2018, and the ministry had forwarded that. The CBI sent a similar request a few days later the same month.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are under probe by both the CBI and the ED, which has till date attached properties worth Rs 4,765 crore of Choksi and Nirav Modi.
(With PTI inputs)