- Nirav Modi is wanted by India in a Rs. 13,500 crore bank fraud
- He will be the 29th fugitive India has asked UK to extradite since 2002
- Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi left India in January
The Indian government has requested for extradition of fugitive celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted for a Rs 13,500 crore bank fraud along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, from the United Kingdom, the parliament has been informed. The request has been sent by a Special Diplomatic Bag to the High Commission of India in London, VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Nirav Modi will be the 29th fugitive India has asked the UK to extradite since 2002. The UK government has rejected India's request nine times in the last 16 years. In other cases, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the request is still pending.
Nirav Modi, the main accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, and Mehul Choksi are wanted by multiple investigating agencies after the state-owned bank complained that it had been cheated of Rs. 13,500 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking (LoUs) to their companies. Both had fled India in January, weeks before the scam was unearthed.
India had cancelled the passports of both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi in February. But that hasn't stopped Nirav Modi from travelling from one country to another.
Mr Singh said in the Rajya Sabha that the ministry can't verify Nirav Modi's travels, and the passport used by him.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi, who has refused to return to India saying he would be killed by mobs if he were brought back, has moved to Antigua and got a local passport.
He claimed he had applied for Antiguan citizenship to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries. He was granted citizenship in November last year.
The Antiguan authorities, however, say that Mehul Choksi's request for citizenship would have been rejected if they had known about the charges against him in the PNB scam.