India waiting for UK reply after fugitive Nirav Modi's video surfaces

Mar 10, 2019, 00:58
India waiting for UK reply after fugitive Nirav Modi's video surfaces

The UK Home Secretary's office moved the extradition file of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi to the Westminster Court in London two days back on March 7, finding his case "fit for extradition".

"(Since) We requested the United Kingdom government for extradition of Nirav Modi, means that we were aware that he is in United Kingdom otherwise we would not have made the request", said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a media briefing on Saturday.

In a video posted by the newspaper, Modi can be seen sporting a handle-bar moustache and wearing an Ostrich Hide jacket, estimated to cost 10,000 pounds.

The Daily Telegraph tracked Modi down to three-bedroom £8 million apartment occupying half a floor within the luxury skyscraper called Centre Point off Tottenham Court Road, where rent is understood to be £17,000 a month.

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Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who are wanted in India for loan default, fled the country in the first week of January a year ago after their companies were found cheating the state-run PNB of Rs 14,000 crore. In the clip, he refuses to answer Telegraph reporter Mick Brown's question on whether he had applied for political asylum in the UK.

Non-bailable warrants were issued against Nirav Modi and Choksi.

"Request for extradition of Nirav Modi to India was sent in July 2018 to the UK. Just because he has been spotted, doesn't mean he will be extradited to India", Kumar further said.

Meanwhile, Modi's sprawling seaside bungalow at Kihim beach in Maharashtra's Raigad District was demolished with explosives on Friday for flouting the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

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Despite his bank accounts being frozen by the Indian authorities and an Interpol red notice being issued for his arrest, Modi, a diamond jeweller whose designs have been worn by Hollywood stars, is now involved in a new diamond business based in London, the report said.

Nirav, the report revealed, takes a daily walk from his home to the office with his dog. Nirav is apparently in contact with a wealth management firm in west London, which is famous for offering advice to rich foreigners.

"Modi was given a National Insurance number in recent months by the Department for Work & Pensions and has been able to operate online bank accounts in the United Kingdom while wanted by Indian authorities", the publication reports, citing a well-placed source in the government. National insurance numbers are required to legally work in the UK. The reasons for the apparent failure to act on the Interpol red notice are also not known.

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