Free Press Journal

Awaiting response from Hong Kong on Nirav Modi: Ministry of External Affairs


New Delhi: India today said it is awaiting response from Hong Kong authorities on its request for provisional order of arrest of diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with PNB loan fraud. Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said India has requested the Hong Kong authorities to surrender Nirav Modi based on the extradition agreement for surrender of fugitive offenders signed between the two sides in 1997.

“Our mission in Hong Kong has informed that the Department of Justice of Hong Kong are still examining our request for provisional order of arrest of Nirav Modi. We are awaiting response from the Hong Kong authorities,” Kumar told reporters. In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha last week, V K Singh, Minister of State in the External Affairs, had said the request for the same was submitted to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on March 23.

Earlier this week, China said that Hong Kong can accede to India’s request to arrest fugitive Indian diamond merchant Nirav Modi based on local laws and mutual judicial assistance agreements Asked whether the MEA has taken up the case of Mehul Choksi with the US, also wanted in the PNB fraud case along with Modi, Kumar said the ministry only comes into the picture after the location of any fugitive is ascertained.

There were reports that Choksi is in the US. “Normally, after we are informed by the (investigating) agencies….based on that we make a request. We have not done anything because we do not know his whereabouts,” Kumar said. When asked whether the issue of Vijay Mallya, liqour baron who is wanted in a money laundering case and an alleged bank fraud case in India and is currently in the UK, will come up in discussions Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have during his visit to the United Kingdom next week, K Nagraj Naidu, Joint Secretary (West Europe division) in the MEA, said “all issues” concerning India were on the agenda

“On the question of agenda, it includes all issues. At the same time, the issue of economic offences is more under the domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs. There are two ongoing dialogues–one at the level of the Home Secretary and one at the level of the minister.

“Minister Kiren Rijiju (Minister of State for Home Affairs) was in the UK in January this year and the issue was discussed at great detail,” he said in response to a question.