India asks U.K. to extradite Nirav

The Indian High Commission in London has handed over an official request to the U.K. authorities to extradite Nirav Modi.

Earlier this week, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh told Parliament that the request had been sent to London in a diplomatic bag. Official sources here confirmed that the request had now been passed on to the U.K. Central Agency, thereby putting measures in place for action should it emerge that Mr. Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with the Rs. 13,578-crore Punjab National Bank fraudulent Letters of Undertaking scam, is in the U.K.

In June, India received confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Services here that it would be possible to launch extradition proceedings against him even without official confirmation of his exact location, including whether he was in the country.

Multiple complications

India’s discussions with British authorities on the issue have been complicated by a number of issues, including data protection, which have meant that India is yet to ascertain whether or not Mr. Modi has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain.

Extradition proceedings would be particularly relevant if Mr. Modi possessed an ILR, which would require India to proceed down the extradition route as it had in its attempt to return Vijay Mallya to the country (he has indefinite leave to remain in Britain).

However, media reports, including in the
Financial Times
earlier this year, that Mr. Nirav Modi had claimed political asylum in Britain in an effort to remain here, would suggest that he did not possess ILR. This would lead India down the route of seeking his deportation, rather than full-blown extradition proceedings.

Choksi’s issue

In addition, while his uncle and co-accused Mehul Choksi has taken citizenship of the Caribbean island of Antigua, his location remains unknown. India had sent three Letters Rogatory (LRs) in the cases lodged by the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the U.K. seeking assistance in its investigation against fugitive diamond trader in March and April, which had been forwarded to the Serious Fraud Office.

In early July, Interpol issued a Red Notice against Mr. Nirav Modi and two others on the request of the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI on criminal and money laundering charges. The Red Notice restricts a fugitive’s movement in 192 countries, and empowers enforcement agencies to detain the person for deportation or extradition to the requesting country.

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