New Delhi: India has submitted a request to Hong Kong authorities for provisional arrest of Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with PNB fraud, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.

“The ministry has sought the provisional arrest of Nirav Deepak Modi by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China, for which a request has been submitted to them on March 23, 2018," V.K. Singh, the minister of state in the external affairs ministry, said in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Singh was asked whether the ministry has any clue about the whereabouts of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

A provisional arrest is made pending a formal extradition request. Singh said the MEA had suspended passports of the two diamond merchants. This was done after an FIR was registered against them by the CBI for an alleged fraud worth several thousand crores in the Punjab National Bank two months ago.

Modi and Choksi had fled the country before the PNB fraud came to light.

The MEA had served show cause notices to Modi and Choksi on 16 February, giving them a week to respond. “Since they failed to respond within the stipulated time period, their passports were revoked on February 23, 2018," Singh said in parliament.