THE INTERPOL’S National Central Bureau (NCB) in Manchester, in a letter on August 16, asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to submit an extradition request and a provisional arrest warrant issued by an Indian court against fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi to the United Kingdom government, sources told The Indian Express.
Accordingly, the CBI sent the extradition request and provisional arrest warrant on Monday. “The Interpol, Manchester, informed us over the weekend that Nirav Modi is currently in the UK. This morning, we sent an extradition request to the MEA, to be forwarded to the UK authorities concerned to start the extradition process,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
According to officials familiar with the probe, Modi, accused of a Rs 13,600-crore bank fraud, could be provisionally arrested by the UK authorities this week and presented before a lower court there. “A provisional arrest warrant from an Indian court will help the UK authorities to immediately arrest Modi and initiate proceedings for his extradition in a UK court,” said a source.
The Interpol’s latest communication to the CBI follows the Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued by the global agency against Modi on June 29. While the communication does not give Modi’s exact location in the UK, the CBI has been told to submit its request at the earliest.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), separately, sent a provisional arrest warrant against Modi to UK last week, while its extradition request was sent in the first week of August, in a special diplomatic bag to the Indian High Commission in London for onward transmission to the UK authorities.
According to sources, Modi has applied for political asylum in the UK. While Britain’s Home Office has declined to provide information on individual cases, the UK government’s official website says that asylum is granted to refugees, and to be eligible for asylum, a person should be unable to go back to his/ her home country because he/ she fears prosecution. It also requires the person to provide documents to prove his/ her UK address.
Modi is wanted by multiple investigating agencies after state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) complained against his companies, saying it had been cheated of Rs 13,600 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and foreign letters of credit (FLCs). Modi left India in January, a few weeks before the scam came to light.
Earlier this month, in a written reply, Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs, General V K Singh, said the Interpol has issued two RCNs against Modi. The CBI and ED had moved Interpol in June for an RCN after the UK confirmed his presence in the country.
Both the CBI and ED have filed their chargesheets against Modi and his firms. Modi has been accused of diverting over Rs 4,000 crore of the Rs 6,519 crore outstanding fraudulent LoUs issued by PNB to his firms, through 15 “dummy companies” based in the UAE and Hong Kong. — With ENS, New Delhi