Billionaire jeweller and the man behind the 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud Nirav Modi has reportedly fled to the UK. According to a report by Financial Times, Nirav Modi is seeking political asylum in the UK claiming he is being persecuted.
— ET NOW (@ETNOWlive) June 11, 2018
Nirav Modi is wanted by Indian officials in the loan fraud case. So far the law enforcement authorities have been unable to track him down. He was reported to be living in Hong Kong some time ago but there has been no concrete news regarding his whereabouts. According to reports, British home office has refused to comment citing that they do not provide information on individual cases and Indian officials at the Ministry of External Affairs have stated that they will request Britain for an extradition after the Indian law enforcement agencies confirm his location.
If his location is confirmed, Nirav Modi will be the second Indian man the government will be seeking to extradite from the UK. Liquor and aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya is facing extradition too.
Nirav Modi has reportedly left the country earlier in 2018 before the Punjab National Bank disclosed the news of the mega loan fraud. Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi are both wanted by CBI and ED in India under non-bailable warrants. Their properties in India have been attached and the CBI has sought legal sanction to attach his overseas properties too. Many business associates and high-level staffers of the two business houses have been arrested by the CBI in connection to the loan fraud and several bank officials have also been held for helping the Diamond tycoons in executing the fraud.
Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, in collusion with bank officials allegedly misused the international inter-bank messaging system SWIFT and got huge amounts of loans sanctioned through Letters of Undertaking (LoUs). The PNB fraud is being hailed as the biggest financial fraud in India’s banking history.
On 24th May, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a 12,000-page charge sheet against Nirav Modi, his father, brother, sister and his several companies in the PNB fraud case. A total of 25 people are named in that charge sheet including former PNB chief and several high-level back officials. The agency had also moved to the Interpol seeking a global warrant issued against Nirav Modi. The ED is also seeking to place Nirav Modi’s name under the ‘fugitive economic offenders ordinance.