Nirav Modi arrested in London, say media reports
Fugitive billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi was arrested in London on Wednesday. Nirav Modi was arrested from London's Holborn metro station, UK Police was quoted as saying by ANI. He is produced in Westminster court at 11.20 am local time. The next hearing in the case in Westminster court will take place on March 29 before Chief Magistrate
The provisional arrest warrant against the billionaire, who was recently spotted on the streets of London wearing an Ostrich skin jacket worth almost Rs 10 lakh, was issued by the Westminster court. On March 18, the court had issued an arrest warrant against Nirav Modi in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his extradition from the UK in a money laundering case.
"Nirav Deepak Modi was arrested on behalf of the Indian Authorities this afternoon (Tuesday, 19 March) in Holborn. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 March)," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
The Congress, however, said that Nirav Modi’s arrest was an attempt by the NDA government to win the Lok Sabha Elections. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that, “Modi government had sent Nirav Modi outside India, now it is bringing him to win elections.”
"Nirav Deepak Modi, 48 (Date of Birth 24.02.71), was arrested on behalf of the Indian Authorities on Tuesday, 19 March, in Holborn," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. "He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, 20 March," the statement added.
It would seem that his arrest is on an extradition warrant, details of which would become clear when he appears before Westminster Magistrates' Court in London
The prime accused in the $2 billion PNB fraud case, Modi was given ‘Gold Visa’ by the UK government for his stay in London. Living in a palatial 8-million-pound apartment, Nirav Modi had allegedly already started a new business called Diamond Holdings. The details, which have been reported by the Times of India on Saturday last week, show that the absconding diamantaire is not affected by any probe back home in India.
According to the report, the ‘Gold Visa’, which was introduced by the UK government in 2008, allows a person to stay, set up business or study in the country for period of five years. The only prerequisite is that the candidate must give 2-million-pound investment commitment to the authorities.
This means that for roughly Rs 18 crore (calculated on the current exchange rates), the man behind India’s biggest banking scam was living without any trouble in the UK.
The development comes a day after PTI quoted CBI sources saying that expeditious efforts are being made to get absconding jeweller Nirav Modi extradited from the United Kingdom.
Nirav Modi had fled after allegedly siphoning off about Rs 13,0000 crore from Punjab National Bank using Letters of Undertaking.
The 48-year old Nirav Modi was recently spotted in a tony neighbourhood of London wearing a 10,000 Pound Ostrich hide jacket by the London-based newspaper The Telegraph. On Tuesday also, several Indian channels spotted him in the area.
After fleeing from the country in the first week of January last year, he was seen in a Press Information Bureau group photograph of CEOs and top brass of Indian corporate sector with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Davos, Switzerland, in January 2018.
The CBI registered an FIR against him on January 31 on the basis of complaint against him. It was followed by another FIR by the agency against him.
The CBI, in its chargesheets filed on May 14, had alleged that Nirav Modi, through his companies, siphoned off funds to the tune of Rs 6,498.20 crore using fraudulent LoUs issued from PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai.
It is alleged that Nirav Modi and his associates through their companies availed of credit from overseas branches of Indian banks using fraudulent guarantees of the PNB given through LoUs and letters of credit which were not repaid, bringing the liability on the state-run bank, the officials said.