UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has agreed to India's extradition request of billionaire diamond tycoon Nirav Modi who is accused of being behind India's biggest ever banking fraud after a media source tracked him down to an £8 million London apartment. Indian authorities wants Modi so he can be prosecuted for his part in the alleged embezzlement of £1.3 billion from Punjab National Bank. Modi, 48, was found living in an £8 million, three-bedroom apartment in Centre Point, one of London’s most famous tower blocks in the heart of the West End. Similar flats have been rented for £17,000 a month.
Modi’s case is set to begin in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court after Home Secretary, last week certified India’s extradition request. When Modi was found in London, the Indian government said it has been aware of Modi's presence in the UK, saying it wouldn't otherwise have requested for his extradition. While the ED said its extradition request sent to the UK, US and Egypt has been pending since June, UK Home Office confirmed that the request has been certified by Javid and is now with the Westminster magistrate court. The court will now take up to 28 days to issue an arrest warrant after which the process will start.
Meanwhile, Modi had started a new business which is listed as a “wholesale trader in watches and jewellery and a retailer of watches and jewelery in specialised stores.” It is a few hundred yards walk from his luxury flat.
The diamond merchant, together with his uncle Mehul Choksi, is wanted in India over the £1.3 billion PNB scam. Modi and his family left India in January 2018 before the CBI and ED started investigating him and Choksi for swindling PNB through their companies using fraudulent LoUs. Both agencies have now filed chargesheets in the Indian courts against the two men.
In July 2018, Interpol issued a red corner notice against the celebrity jeweler saying he was “wanted for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and money laundering.” In August, India had sent a request for his extradition to the UK Home Office. Choksi, meanwhile, fled to Antigua where he had bought citizenship.
Two other high-profile cases of businessman Vijay Mallya and alleged cricket bookie, Sanjeev Chawla, have moved to the higher court. The Magistrates’ Court in December ordered Mallya’s extradition to face fraud charges in India. The extradition of Chawla, who is an accused in the match-fixing scandal involving late former South African captain Hansie Cronje in 2000, was cleared a month later.
Modi diverted £93.4 mn to personal, wife, father's accounts
The ED filed a supplementary chargesheet against Modi. It also named a few other accused, including his wife Ami for her alleged involvement in laundering proceeds from funds obtained fraudulently from PNB through LOUs. According to a fresh chargesheet, Modi channeled £93.4 million of the defrauded money into his personal account and two other accounts in the name of his family members.
The ED submitted the details of the bank statements of companies based in Dubai, UAE and Singapore in the recent chargesheet to establish this money trail. In fact, the agency has reportedly unearthed the flow of 91 per cent of the defrauded money. Officials said £56 million was credited into Modi's account while £20 million was diverted into his wife's account and £17.4 million into his father Deepak Modi's personal bank account maintained abroad. They added that after receiving PNB money into accounts of shell companies, a portion of it was diverted into various other shell companies before it reached Modi-controlled Pacific Diamonds.