India has sought the extradition of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi from the United Kingdom, with a formal request being routed to the UK government through the Indian High Commission in London.
V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the request for extradition of the jeweller from the UK had been sent to the High Commission of India in London.
He told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question that the Ministry of External Affairs had received a request from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the extradition of Modi from the UK.
“The request has been sent by a special diplomatic bag to the High Commission of India, London for onward transmission to the UK authorities," added Singh.
Modi is going to be the 29th fugitive India has asked UK to extradite since 2002. The UK government in the past 16 years has rejected India’s request for extradition in the case of nine fugitives. The UK courts declined to issue arrest warrants in case of three more fugitives whom New Delhi wanted London to extradite. In case of 15 others, including business tycoon Vijay Mallya, India’s request to UK for extradition is still pending.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are both accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of about ₹ 14,000 crore, seen as the biggest ever banking fraud in the country. Both left India in January before PNB lodged a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation that the duo had defrauded it of ₹ 280 crore. The subsequent complaints lodged by the PNB took the quantum of the scam to about ₹ 14,000 crore.
In February, the Indian foreign ministry revoked the passports issued to Modi and Choksi by Government of India.
Choksi got citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 – months before the scam came to light and the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate launched investigations. New Delhi earlier this week sent High Commissioner of India to Guyana, V Mahalingam, to St John’s, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda, to request the government of the West Indies island nation for extradition of Choksi.
Minister of State VK Singh on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that the Interpol had issued two Red Corner Notices against Modi.
He said that the ministry had “no means to verify the travels" of Modi and the passport he used for travelling after the revocation of the one issued by Government of India.
During the budget session of parliament that ended in May, Singh had informed the Rajya Sabha that New Delhi had on March 23 requested the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to provisionally arrest Modi.
The Hong Kong authorities however later informed New Delhi that the fugitive jeweler had left Hong Kong much before the request for his provisional arrest was made.