British authorities have informed India that diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, who is wanted in the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, is living in the United Kingdom, the Centre told Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, responding to questions raised by Congress MP Ranjib Biswal, said that the National Central Bureau of Manchester has informed Indian agencies that their investigations located Modi in the UK.
Biswal asked if the government had proposed to formally move for his extradition. Singh replied that the government had sent two extradition requests in August this year – one from the Central Bureau of Investigation and another from the Enforcement Directorate – to authorities in the United Kingdom seeking to extradite him. “The requests are presently under the consideration of the concerned UK authorities,” Singh said.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000 crore and are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate.
The fraud came to light in February when the bank informed the BSE that it had detected “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” worth Rs 11,380 crore at a branch in South Mumbai. A few officials of the public sector bank had allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertaking to Modi’s companies. Both Modi and Choksi left the country in Janaury, weeks before the scam became public. The bank later raised the estimated fraud amount to over Rs 13,000 crore.
Choksi was granted citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017, and is believed to have been residing there since.
The Interpol had issued a notice against Modi and his sister, Purvi Modi, in July and September this year, and against Choksi in December. A similar notice was issued against Mihir R Bhansali, a senior executive at the US branch of Modi’s business, on charges of money laundering.