London: Finally, the law is catching up with conman Nirav Modi, who was recently spotted gallivanting in the streets of London. It is understood that the Westminster court has issued a provisional arrest warrant against the fugitive diamond trader who is accused of defrauding PNB of over Rs 13,000 crore.
This essentially means the countdown has started for Nirav and his arrest is imminent. This would lead to him being produced before a District Judge for being formally charged, following which he is expected to seek bail. The arrest will clear the decks for the start of a trial against him. If the court decides, London will issue an order to extradite him to India. The order can be challenged by Nirav.
A similar procedure was followed when absconding liquor businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested by the London police after a warrant was issued based on the ED’s request to extradite him to India in a money laundering case. Mallya’s extradition case is now in final stages. A team of Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate will leave for London soon.
The top officials of the two investigative agencies are already in touch with UK authorities and the Indian High Commission in London is closely monitoring the developments. Sources said the BJP government had ramped up pressure on the UK authorities to come up with something tangible – such as arrest of Nirav Modi – which could be showcased in the Lok Sabha election.
Earlier this month, Nirav was seen walking on the streets of London by a reporter of the British newspaper The Telegraph. In a two-minute clip shared by the newspaper, the billionaire, looking somewhat different with a moustache, and wearing a much-talked about expensive ostrich hide jacket, repeatedly said “no comments”.
The British newspaper had said Nirav has started a new diamond business in Soho, a part of the posh West End area in London. The newspaper, quoting government sources, reported that Nirav has been also given a national insurance number – needed to legally work in the UK – and has been operating bank accounts online while being wanted by India.