Billionaire fugitive Nirav Modi could be arrested in the UK as soon as this week

  • Last week, Interpol’s bureau in Manchester asked the CBI to issue an extradition request and provisional arrest warrant for Modi, who is currently living in the UK.
  • The extradition request paves the way for Modi’s immediate arrest and presentation before a court.
  • Meanwhile, Modi’s fellow conspirator in the case, Mehul Choksi has taken up citizenship of Antigua. An application for his international arrest warrant is still pending with Interpol.
Ever since the $2 billion fraud case at Punjab National Bank came to light in February 2018, the protagonist behind the scam, Nirav Modi, has remained a free man. Following a request to Interpol from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to issue a red corner notice, or an international arrest warrant, against him, the absconding billionaire was reported to be seen in Brussels in June.

Like fellow wilful defaulter Vijay Mallya, Modi was subsequently confirmed to be living in the UK, where he has reportedly applied for political asylum. And now, it looks like he could soon be arrested, even as early as this week, according to a report by the Indian Express.

Last week, Interpol’s bureau in Manchester asked the CBI to issue an extradition request and provisional warrant for Modi’s arrest. A spokesperson for the CBI, Abhishek Dayal, confirmed to news outlets that the extradition request was sent yesterday to authorities in the UK via the Ministry of External Affairs.

The extradition request paves the way for Modi to be immediately arrested in the UK and eventually stand before a court. Earlier this month, India’s Enforcement Directorate, a federal agency tasked with fighting economic crimes, also sent an arrest warrant and extradition request to UK authorities in relation to the Nirav Modi scam.

Modi is not the only person of interest in the case. The CBI has also filed chargesheets against his fellow conspirator, Mehul Choksi - whose also his uncle, as well as his wife, Ami Modi and son, Nishal. All left India in January, shortly before the scam was revealed. Despite the revocation of his passport, Modi was believed to be travelling on a passport issued by Singapore.

Meanwhile, Choksi is said to have taken up citizenship of Antigua, an island in the Caribbean. A request for his extradition was handed over to officials in Antigua and Barbuda at the beginning of August. However, given the absence of a extradition treaty between India and Antigua, the only way for Indian authorities to extradite Choksi is to get Interpol to issue a red corner notice against him. The application for Choksi’s international arrest warrant is reported to be still pending with Interpol.

Separately, on August 20th, a special CBI court granted bail to Usha Ananthasubramanian, who was the managing director and CEO of Punjab National Bank when the scam took place. Prior to the fraud case coming to light, Ananthasubramanian was the MD and CEO of Allahabad Bank, a role which she was eventually forced to relinquish. She was named in a chargesheet for failing to properly prevent the fraudulent letters of undertaking from being issued by the bank.
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