While the Interpol is yet to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against absconding jeweller Nirav Modi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) moved a Mumbai special court on Monday, seeking his extradition from the UK and Hong Kong.
Modi is currently reported to be in Belgium, where he is said to have fled from the UK on June 12. Confirming that an application was filed before the special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Monday afternoon, Special Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, who represented the ED, said: “We have sought permission from the court to seek extradition of Nirav Modi, who is an absconding accused in the case. The application seeks for him to be extradited from the UK.”
A senior ED official, however, said the application also mentions Hong Kong. “Also, we have kept our application open-ended. On Tuesday, when it is heard in the court, we may add names of more countries,” he said.
The ED has filed a prosecution complaint against Modi and a non-bailable warrant has also been issued against him. The agency had sent a request for an RCN against Modi, but the Interpol is yet to issue this.
Earlier, the CBI, ED, and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had discussed that extradition requests should be sent only after an RCN is issued against Modi, as he is constantly on the move. If an RCN is issued, it would restrict him to the country where the extradition request is sent.
However, ED sources said, in the face of delay by the Interpol to issue an RCN against Modi, the agency has been considering sending extradition requests to multiple countries where Modi could go.
The issue, sources said, was discussed with the authorities in the UK, who said London would entertain the request if it came through a court, even without an RCN. It was, however, underscored that Modi was not present in the country.
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Notably, the extradition request against liquor baron Vijay Mallya was sent to the UK without an RCN being issued. The extradition case against Mallya is currently in the final stages at the Westminster Court in London. Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are key accused in the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.