Nirav Modi at an event for Gitanjali. (Source: Nirav Modi Jewels Twitter Page)

Nirav Modi In U.K., CBI Moves For Extradition

The U.K. has confirmed to the Central Bureau of Investigation that fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, alleged to be the mastermind of India's biggest banking fraud of over $2 billion, is in that country, officials said today.

The CBI submitted an extradition request to India’s Home Ministry immediately after getting the confirmation, they said. The request to bring him back will be sent to the U.K. through the Ministry of External Affairs.

The agency has also requested authorities in the U.K. to detain him on the basis of the red-corner notice issued by the Interpol against him, they said. The notice was issued on the request of the CBI in June this year, officials said.

In its red-corner notice issued against a fugitive, the Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.

Modi, along with his wife Ami Modi, a U.S. citizen, brother Nishal Modi, a Belgian citizen, and uncle Mehul Choksi, all accused in the CBI’s first information reports in the case, left the country in the first week of January, weeks before the country’s biggest banking scam surfaced.

Choksi has been located in Antigua, where he has taken citizenship, officials said. Nirav Modi and Choksi have refused to return to India to join the probe, citing business and health reasons, they said.

Modi managed to travel across several countries even after information about his passport being revoked by the Indian government was flashed in the Interpol central database on Feb. 24, the CBI had said earlier.

Also read: PNB Fraud Case: NCLAT Sets Aside Order Giving Relief To Directors Of Nirav Modi Firm

“After the passport was revoked/cancelled by the External Affairs Ministry, we had updated this information in the diffusion notice. The information that Nirav Modi’s passport has been revoked was provided in the Interpol central database, available to all the member countries, on Feb. 24,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal had said.

After the “diffusion” notice was issued by the Interpol on the request of the CBI, the agency followed it up with six countries where Nirav Modi was suspected to have fled to, he had said. The agency requested these countries to share information about his whereabouts and movements.

The agency sent these reminders to the Interpol coordination agency of the U.K. on April 25, May 22, May 24 and May 28.

The scam pertains to the alleged issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertakings of more than $2 billion to companies of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi by the Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai during 2011-17, officials said.

A Letter of Undertaking is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks with branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant.

Also read: Parliamentary Panel Suggests Restoring LoUs Banned After PNB Fraud