Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi wanted in Rs. 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank scam case, being spotted in London, is a shot in the arm for the opposition which slammed the Centre for its "failure" to bring back the accused to justice while he apparently thrived elsewhere.
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".
A spokesman for India's foreign ministry said the government knew that Modi was in London. It [extradition request] is under their [British government] consideration" "Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kuma told reporters on Friday. Notably, by entirely changing Nirav Modi look is trying to disguise himself as he is wanted in India and facing extradition case.
The Telegraph report further stated that Nirav Modi against whom a Red Corner Notice has been issued by the Interpol has been living in the city's West End area and has even started a new diamond business. Jewellery firms headed by him and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are accused of cheating Punjab National Bank by raising foreign credit using fake guarantees.
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Nirav's life as a free businessman in London is set to create some tension between India and Britain, where another fugitive Indian tycoon, Vijay Mallya, is fighting an extradition attempt. "We will take all efforts necessary to extradite Nirav Modi".
"Since last 5 years, he (Modi) is making two Indias - one is of wealthy people like Anil Ambani who travel in private planes and achieve what they like".
Nirav Modi, 48, is now living in a three-bedroom flat in the Centre Point tower block, where rent is estimated to cost £17,000 a month, reports the Telegraph.
"The business, which was incorporated last May, is linked to his flat in Centre Point although he is not listed as a director at Companies House", the Telegraph reported, wondering how Modi's presence remained unnoticed by the British authorities. Sporting a beard, a pink shirt and what the newspaper described as an "ostrich leather" jacket, Modi was confronted by a reporter. National insurance numbers are required to legally work in the UK. Modi has been able to operate online bank accounts in the United Kingdom, and is in touch with a wealth management company in West London. He is also seen avoiding every question posed at him, saying "no comment".