- India had asked Britain in July last year to extradite Nirav Modi
- Foreign Ministry today said the government knew that he was in London
- He is one of the main accused in Rs 13,000 crore PNB fraud case
The government today said it is waiting for the UK to respond to its request to extradite fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi after British newspaper The Telegraph reported today that he was living in an 8 million pound (Rs 75 crore) apartment in London.
India had asked Britain in July last year to extradite Nirav Modi, who along with his uncle Mehul Choksi are the main accused in a Rs 13,000 crore bank fraud involving state-run Punjab National Bank. The two businessmen allegedly forged bank guarantees to take loans overseas.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar today said the government knew that Mr Modi was in London.
"Just because Nirav Modi has been spotted doesn't mean he will be brought back immediately," said Mr Kumar, adding it was waiting for the UK to respond.
Request for Extradition of Nirav Modi to India was sent in July 2018 to UK. The UK Central Authority of Home Office has confirmed that the Extradition Request has been sent to the Westminster Magistrate Court for the District Judge for further proceedings.- ED (@dir_ed) March 9, 2019
In the video shared by The Telegraph, Nirav Modi is seen walking down the streets of London, repeatedly saying "sorry, no comment" to questions by a reporter on his extradition status, how long he intends to stay in London and about his business partners.
Mr Modi, a stubby man with a moustache and thin hair, is seen responding with a straight face in the video. The newspaper reported that he was wearing a jacket that was made of ostrich hide, which would have cost at least 10,000 pounds (Rs 9 lakh).
The opposition, which has been attacking the government for going slow on bringing businessmen who left the country after defaulting on loans, picked on the video to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Impossible is possible under Modi. It seems that Modi ji is running bank fraudster settlement company. In five years, Rs 1 lakh crore has been robbed by the fugitives and you were unable to catch them," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters today.
The BJP in its counter-attack said many of these who cheated India during the UPA government have been brought back and are in custody. "Others will follow. They are living the life of fugitives and refugees. None who cheats India can get away under the Modi government," the BJP tweeted on its official handle.