New Delhi: India is awaiting a response from Hong Kong authorities who are examining its request for the provisional arrest of jeweller Nirav Modi, one of the main suspects in the Rs12,636-crore fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) , the Indian foreign ministry said on Thursday.
“At this stage I can only share that we have requested the Hong Kong authorities to surrender Nirav Modi based on the agreement for the surrender of fugitive offenders signed between India and Hong Kong in 1997," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters. “Our mission in Hong Kong has informed that the Department of Justice of Hong Kong are still examining our request for provisional order of arrest of Nirav Modi. We are awaiting response from the Hong Kong authorities."
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court earlier this month issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against Modi and Gitanjali Gems Ltd promoter Mehul Choksi in the PNB fraud case.
Last month, minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh told Parliament that “the ministry has sought the provisional arrest of Nirav Deepak Modi by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the People’s Republic of China."
Asked about India’s request, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters last week that “according to the one country two systems and basic law of the HKSAR, under the assistance and authorisation of the central government, the HKSAR can make proper arrangement on judicial mutual assistance with other countries."
When asked if India was seeking the arrest of Choksi, believed to be in the US, Kumar said the Indian foreign ministry “comes into the picture once the location of the fugitive is ascertained."
“Normally, we are informed by the agencies that the wanted person has been located and based on that we make a request to the local government to take action. In the case of Choksi, we have not done anything because we do not know his whereabouts," he said.