Nirav Modi (File Picture)
Expeditious efforts are being made to get absconding jeweller Nirav Modi extradited from the United Kingdom, CBI sources said on Tuesday. They said an extradition request has been sent to the United Kingdom through the External Affairs ministry.
Highly placed sources said no new intimation has come to the agency after his spotting in London by some television channels on Tuesday. These are legal processes which take their own time, they said, adding the CBI will provide every possible assistance to the UK agencies to expedite his extradition request which is open.
The sources clarified there are no immediate plans for sending a team to London. The United Kingdom had responded to a Red Corner Notice issued by the agency against Nirav Modi last year, they said. The RCN was issued in June 2018 on a request from the agency to the Interpol.
Nirav Modi has fled after allegedly siphoning off about Rs 13,0000 crore from Punjab National Bank using Letters of Undertaking in collusion with his uncle Mehul Choski. 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 and his uncle Mehul Choksi from the bank. It was followed by another FIR by the agency against him.Nirav Modi's brother and wife were also named as accused in the FIR.
His wife Ami, a US citizen, brother Nishal, a Belgian, and uncle Choksi, Gitanjali group's promoter, had also fled the country in the first week of January.
The case pertains to allegedly cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).
The agency has chargesheeted both Nirav Modi and Choksi separately in the alleged scam. It has now approached the Interpol for a Red Corner Notice aimed at bringing Nirav Modi back for facing trial in the cases against them, the sources said.
The CBI, in its charge sheets 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.
Choksi allegedly swindled Rs 7080.86 crore, making it possibly the biggest banking scam in the country, it alleged. It is alleged that Nirav Modi and Choksi 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.
An LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant. The instructions for transferring the funds were allegedly issued by a bank employee, Gokulnath Shetty, using an international messaging system for banking called SWIFT platform and without making their subsequent entries in the PNB's internal banking software, thus bypassing scrutiny in the bank, they said.