In a big diplomatic win for the Indian government, Westminster Court in London on Monday issued an arrest warrant against diamantaire Nirav Modi based on Enforcement Directorate's request for his extradition to India.
Nirav Modi was recently spotted in London sporting a handlebar moustache and wearing a jacket worth almost Rs 10 lakh. Nirav Modi, who is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore has been asked to appear before the court on March 25, officials said.
Sources added that it is likely that the celebrity diamond trader will be arrested by London police. Modi, however, can apply for bail and he is likely to get conditional bail.
It is to be noted that senior officials of Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate are in round-the-clock touch with UK authorities and Indian High Commission in London. The extradition process against Modi was started by the ED in August 2018.
India's extradition request for Nirav Modi was certified by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on March 9. The Indian authorities upped the pressure on Modi after it was found that he was living in London's West End. PTI reported that the 48-year-old Modi is currently living in a three-bedroom flat at landmark Centre Point tower block in London. It is estimated that the rent in this area cost 17,000 pounds a month. Sources said that Modi is also running a new diamond business in London.
The Indian authorities have already frozen Nirav Modi's bank accounts and an Interpol red notice has also been issued against him for his arrest. The Indian government has also attached his assets worth Rs 1,873.08 crore under the PMLA and has seized assets linked to him and his family worth Rs 489.75 crore.
Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others are facing investigation from the ED and the CBI for alleged money laundering and corruption to carry out the alleged scam in the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai. The scam came out in open in February last year.
Sources said that Modi arrived in London from the US last year and he managed to travel in and out of Britain at least four times despite the cancellation of his passport by the Indian government in February 2018.