Fugitive Billionaire Nirav Modi, wanted in India in an alleged Rs. 13,000 crore bank fraud case, has reportedly started a diamond business in London. British newspaper The Telegraph carried a two-minute clip of the fugitive diamond trader walking on a street in London's West End.
Slightly stockier and not easy to recognise, in a pink shirt topped with a $10,000 jacket and sporting a handlebar moustache, Nirav Modi continued to evade questions as he is pressed with questions regarding his extradition case in India.
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank scam. Mr Choksi hold a citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. Both left India in January last year before the PNB scam broke.
"Modi appears to have adopted a surprisingly nonchalant attitude to his fugitive status, walking his small dog each day between his apartment and the diamond company's office in a townhouse in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his Centre Point home," The Telegraph reported.
The newspaper, quoting government sources, reported that Mr Modi has been given a national insurance number - needed to legally work in the UK - and has been operating bank accounts online while being wanted by India. The report said it is not clear why was he given the national insurance number.
Government sources in India said attempts are on to bring him back. "Our message is clear. If you have committed fraud, you will be brought back to face justice. He is living like a refugee in London," a top government source told NDTV.
Here are the Highlights on political reactions/news after Nirav Modi spotted in London:
The offender was declared a fugitive, assets seized, illegal house blown up, businesses closed. Criminal cases filed, tax evasion, PMLA & Criminal fraud actions being pursued by our agencies.- BJP (@BJP4India) March 9, 2019
Many of these who cheated India during the UPA govt have been brought back and are in custody. Others will follow. They are living the life of fugitives and refugees.- BJP (@BJP4India) March 9, 2019
None who cheats India can get away under the Modi government.
- January 2018: Nirav Modi flees India; CBI conducts raids at his residence following complaint by PNB
- February 15, 2018: Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi's passports revoked
- May 2018: CBI files first chargesheet
- July 2018: Interpol issues notice against Nirav Modi
- September 2018: India formally seeks extradition
- March 2019: Nirav Modi spotted in London
It is no surprise considering that the so-called 'Chowkidar' exists only to help his cronies loot and scoot. This Modi was invited to be at Davos with Modi and is in the pictures, even after it was known that he had looted our banks. #NiravModihttps://t.co/DTXklu6lOK- Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) March 9, 2019
Journalists of the @telegraph managed to track down Nirav Modi. Why was the Modi Govt unable to do so? Who is Modi trying to protect? Himself, Nirav Modi or the people who let him escape? https://t.co/Rp6BFNh3zt- Congress (@INCIndia) March 9, 2019