The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said it had requested the extradition of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi but that the United Kingdom had not yet responded.
Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated this during his press briefing, soon after British publication The Telegraph released a video of Modi walking around in London. Nirav Modi is accused of siphoning off Rs 13,000 crore from the Punjab National Bank.
“The fact that we have requested the UK government for extradition of Nirav Modi, means we know he lives there,” Kumar said in response to a question about the Telegraph report. “It is now for the UK government to respond to the request and for the CBI and ED’s demand for extradition.” Both extradition requests, by the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation, are being “considered” by the UK government, Kumar said. “You are wrong if you think we are not pursuing Nirav Modi case, just like we were the Vijay Mallya case. We will take all efforts necessary to extradite Nirav Modi.”
He added, “At repeated intervals, a request for expediting the extradition has been done.”
The Congress tweeted on Saturday after the video of Modi was released, asking why the government was unable to “track down Nirav Modi” when journalists had managed to do so. “Who is [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi trying to protect? Himself, Nirav Modi or the people who let him escape?”
‘The Telegraph’ report
Nirav Modi is living at an apartment in London’s West End, The Telegraph UK reported on Friday. The daily said Modi lives on half a floor of the Centre Point Tower Block, in an apartment whose rent is likely to be around £17,000 per month (Rs 15.5 lakh), and which costs around Rs 73 crore.
Though Modi’s bank accounts in India have been frozen and an Interpol red notice has been issued against him, the fugitive has become involved in a new diamond business in Soho locality, the daily said. The business is close to his home and was incorporated last May.
Britain’s Department of Work and Pensions has also granted the businessman a National Insurance number, The Telegraph reported quoting unidentified government officials. Modi has been able to operate online bank accounts in the United Kingdom, and is in touch with a wealth management company in West London.
The Telegraph said Nirav Modi walks his dog from his home to his new office every day. He was wearing a jacket made of ostrich hide, costing at least £10,000 (Rs 9.1 lakh) when a reporter tried to talk to him. Modi repeatedly answered “no comment” to questions put to him.