London: UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has certified India’s extradition request for fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, officials involved with the proceedings in the UK confirmed on Saturday, even as he was tracked living openly in a swanky 8-million pound apartment in the heart of London and running a new diamond business just yards away.
Confirmation of the certification of the extradition request, filed by the Indian authorities in August last year, came just as ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported that it had discovered Modi living in a three-bedroom flat, where rent is estimated to be around 17,000 pounds a month. In a video posted by the newspaper, a “plumper” Modi can be seen sporting a handle-bar moustache and wearing an Ostrich Hide jacket, estimated to cost 10,000 pounds.
As per the India-UK Extradition Treaty arrangement, paperwork is now with the District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London to issue an extradition warrant against Modi to be executed by Scotland Yard. The Indian authorities were informed of the development on Thursday, with officials here indicating that an arrest warrant against Modi may now be a matter of weeks, moving the extradition request to the next stage.
The government is taking all steps to extradite PNB scam accused Nirav Modi from the UK, the External Affairs Ministry said Saturday. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, at a media briefing, said the fact that “we requested the UK government for extradition of Nirav Modi, means that we were aware that he is in UK otherwise we would not have made the request”.