Nirav extradition to start soon: ED

Seeking action: Congress workers raising slogans against Nirav Modi during a protest in New Delhi in February last year.

Seeking action: Congress workers raising slogans against Nirav Modi during a protest in New Delhi in February last year.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Request referred to U.K. court, says agency; no information on case, says MEA

Extradition proceedings against diamond merchant Nirav Modi, main accused in the ₹13,578 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, may be initiated soon, as the United Kingdom’s Home Office has referred India’s request to the Westminster Magistrate Court, the Enforcement Directorate said on Saturday.

“The U.K. Home Office has confirmed that the extradition request has been certified by the Home Secretary and the same has been sent to the Westminster Magistrate Court District Judge for further proceedings,” the agency said.

However, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) did not have any information about the case going to court. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We had made a request for extradition to the U.K., based on information from the CBI and the ED in August last year. Despite all that we have seen on television today, the status [of the request] remains the same. The U.K. is still to respond and still considering our request... ”

“The fact that we asked for his extradition from the U.K. itself means that we are aware he is in the U.K. Just because he has been spotted there doesn’t mean he can be immediately brought back to India; there is a process,” he said.

“We have made a request; it is for the U.K. government to respond. We are the nodal agency for all such requests from foreign government so we have passed on requests from CBI and ED,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Refuting the charges that the case was not being pursued as vigorously as that against Vijay Mallya, Mr. Kumar said the government and the MEA were ready to take any step needed to complete his extradition. “We have not received any request for additional information from the U.K., so we are waiting for the response from them,” he said.

The agencies allege that Mr. Nirav Modi, through his companies, fraudulently got issued Letters of Undertaking worth $1,015.35 million between February 2011 and May 2017 from PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai. He and his family members flew out of the country in January 2018, days before the Central Bureau of Investigation registered FIRs against them.

On the ED’s request, Interpol has already issued Red Notices against Nirav Modi, his brother Neeshal, sister Purvi Modi, Aditya Nanavati, Mr. Bhansali and Mr. Parab.

(With inputs from Suhasini Haidar)

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:00:01 AM |

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