Fugitive Indian Diamond Tycoon Spotted in London, Faces Extradition

Posted March 10, 2019

According to the latest reports, he now lives in a property worth over 8 million pounds (over Rs 72 crore) near Oxford Street in London's West End.

The expose by the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, that fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was hiding in plain sight in London kicked off a political furore in New Delhi with the Congress accusing the Narendra Modi government of running a "resettlement programme for fraudsters" and the BJP responding by pointing out that the Non-Performing Assets (NPA) problem was a UPA legacy. Modi fled the country after allegedly siphoning off about Rs 13,000 crore from Punjab National Bank using Letters of Undertaking in collusion with his uncle Mehul Choski. The newspaper also claims that he was now involved in a new diamond business, just a few hundred yards from his swanky apartment.

A request for the extradition of Nirav Modi to India was sent in July 2018. The report added that he was wearing a jacket made from "Ostrich hide", which costs "at least £10,000" (over Rs 9 lakh).

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It appears that the celebrity jeweler tycoon had settled in well in the British capital, where he rents a three-bedroom flat in the landmark Centre Point tower block for about £17,000 ($22,000) a month. Modi repeatedly answered "no comment" to questions put to him.

India had asked Britain in August to extradite Modi, one of the main suspects charged in the $2 billion loan fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), India's biggest banking fraud. He said India made the request for extradition to the United Kingdom knowing that Modi was living there.

India authorities in the past said that Modi was seen in the United Kingdom after fleeing the country a year ago, yet London failed to act on the world-wide police alert requesting a provisional arrest of the fugitive, pending extradition proceedings.

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Britain's Department of Work and Pensions has also granted the businessman a National Insurance number, The Telegraph reported quoting unidentified government officials.

Nirav Modi reportedly takes a daily walk from his home to the office with his dog, he is not easily recognisable due to his changed looks.

This is despite Interpol's red notice serving as a request for the British government to find Modi and arrest him ahead of an extradition. He has also been in contact with a wealth management company based in west London, which specialises in advice to rich foreigners.

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What is an Interpol red notice?