The United Kingdom’s home secretary has recently referred India’s request for extraditing Punjab National Bank scam accused Nirav Modi to a court for initiating legal proceedings against the diamantaire, the Enforcement Directorate said on Saturday.
“Request for extradition of Nirav Modi to India was sent in July 2018 to the UK. The UK Central Authority of Home Office has confirmed that the extradition request has been sent to the Westminster Magistrate Court for the district judge for further proceedings,” the agency said in a statement.
A British daily on Saturday reported that Nirav Modi, accused in the USD 2-billion 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 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.
The move takes the process of extraditing and bringing back Nirav 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 Central Bureau of Investigation would travel to the UK to apprise the lawyers about the Indian case and evidence against Nirav 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 Nirav 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.
Nirav Modi, 48, is currently living in a three-bedroom flat occupying half of a floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block in London, where rent is estimated to cost 17,000 pounds a month, The Telegraph reported.
The revelation comes a day after Nirav 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.
The ministry of external affairs also reacted on the issue of Nirav Modi’s extradition, saying the UK was still considering India’s request.
India is taking all steps necessary for his extradition, an MEA spokesperson said Saturday.
Nirav Modi has been chargesheeted by both the agencies and the ED has also attached his assets worth Rs 1,873.08 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and has also seized assets linked to him and his family worth Rs 489.75 crore.
Overseas assets of Nirav Modi in Hong Kong, Switzerland, the US, Singapore and the UAE worth Rs 961.49 crore have been attached till now, the agency said.
The ED had chargesheeted Nirav Modi and others under the PMLA in May last year and subsequently, moved a court to get him declared absconder under the newly-enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in July last year.
The agency has sent as many as 18 Letters Rogatories (judicial requests) to countries like Armania, Belgium, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, the UAE, UK and the US to obtain evidence against Nirav Modi and other accused.
“Money trail of USD 927 million out of the proceeds of crime of USD 1015 million has been ascertained in this case till now,” the ED said.
It had got issued Interpol’s global arrest notices against Nirav Modi, his brother Neeshal Modi, sister Purvi Modi and company executives Mihir Bhansali, Subhash Parab and Aditya Nanavati.
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