New Delhi: In the wake of reports that Nirav Modi is living and working in London, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Saturday said that India is making strong efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman and was waiting for a response from the United Kingdom with regard to its extradition request sent in August last year.
At a media briefing here, Raveesh Kumar said the government is aware of Modi’s presence in the UK and had made the request for his extradition in August last year. He added that the fact UK was sent that request clears that India is aware of his presence in that country and action has been initiated for his extradition.
“The fact that we have requested the UK government for the extradition of Nirav Modi means that we are aware that he is in the UK. Otherwise, we would not have made the extradition request,” said Raveesh Kumar.
“We first made a request for extradition based on information provided by the ED in early August and then by CBI in late August. Despite what we see on television, the status remains the same. The UK government is yet to respond to MEA’s request,” Kumar said while responding to a question from ANI. He added that the UK is still considering the request for extradition of Modi.
Extradition of a fugitive is a long drawn process and the Indian government is strongly pursuing the matter with its counterpart in the UK, Raveesh Kumar said.
“Just because Nirav Modi has been spotted doesn’t mean he will be brought back immediately. Both requests are under UK govt consideration. There is no demand for fresh document or request has been sought from the UK side from us so far. We are awaiting a response from the UK government,” the spokesperson said.
Nirav Modi, one of the prime accused in the PNB scam in India, was tracked down on Saturday to an 8-million pound apartment in London’s posh locality West End according to the Daily Telegraph.
An interview and a video with the wanted diamantaire published early Saturday in the British newspaper revealed that Modi has also started a new diamond business in Soho. The newspaper headlined its piece ‘Exclusive: India’s most wanted man Nirav Modi – accused of £1.5 billion fraud -living openly in London’.
The video shows Nirav Modi sporting a handle-bar mustache and wearing an expensive jacket, repeatedly saying “no comments” to a series of questions put to him by the newspaper’s reporter, including whether he has sought asylum in the United Kingdom.
Modi is the subject of an extradition request by India, along with an Interpol Red Corner Notice being issued for the PNB scam accused. Modi is the prime accused in the Rs 13,000 crore PNB fraud, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi. Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018, while Modi is in London.
Both Modi and Choksi left India in January last year before the PNB scam came out in the public. The duo has not returned to India despite repeated summons from probe agencies and courts.