The Enforcement Directorate on Monday moved a special court in Mumbai seeking to extradite diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore along with his uncle Mehul Choksi.
The agency has sought to extradite Modi from some countries, such as United Kingdom, Belgium and Hong Kong, based on a chargesheet filed against him and Choksi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, PTI reported. On June 12, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai issued a non-bailable warrant against Modi.
Special Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar confirmed that the application was filed before the special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Monday afternoon, according to The Indian Express. “We have sought permission from the court to seek extradition of Nirav Modi, who is an absconding accused in the case,” Venegaonkar, who represented the Enforcement Directorate, said. “The application seeks for him to be extradited from the UK.”
Modi is currently believed to be in Belgium but since he has travelled to several countries over the last six months, the extradition request has been kept open-ended so that other countries can be added later.
In February, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is also probing the case, had asked Interpol to help locate Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi and uncle Choksi. In June, the agency approached the Interpol seeking a Red Corner Notice against Modi and Choksi. However, it has not yet been issued.
Reports earlier this month had claimed that the absconding businessman held as many as six passports, for which a new case might be filed against him. Two of the six passports were active for a while, an official said. India has said that Modi travelled to four countries even after his passport was revoked.
On February 14, the Punjab National Bank informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it had detected “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” worth Rs 11,380 crore at its Brady House branch in South Mumbai. A few officials of the public sector bank had allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertaking to Modi’s companies. Some of them have been arrested and are under investigation.