London: Nirav Modi is frantically looking for a lawyer who can help him secure political asylum in UK, says an exclusive report in NDTV.com. The billionaire diamond merchant, wanted in India for an 11,000-crore bank scam, has approached at least two firms in the United Kingdom, sources have told NDTV.
One of them is ‘‘Boutique Law, a firm linked to Indian-origin lawyer Anand Doobay who specialises in criminal and regulatory matters, including fraud, extradition and money laundering.’’ The other company whose services Modi is learnt to have sought is Mishcon De Reya. NDTV queries to both these firms have gone unanswered.
Incidentally, Anand Doobay is a part of the panel that works with another wanted businessman Vijjay Mallya, who is already a resident in the UK. To be eligible for political asylum, a person must have left his country and be unable to go back because he fears persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
Successful applicants get refugee status and are allowed to stay in the UK for five years. If the situation in their home country has not improved after those five years, they can apply to stay permanently. But can economic offenders and fugitives from law secure asylum in the UK?
Statistics suggest that one foreign criminal applies for asylum in Britain every day – most of them are convicts from overseas who are trying to take advantage of the British system and human rights laws. One study showed that more than 800 crooks apply for residency in UK every year. India has a poor record of extradition in the UK — most cases fail as happened recently in the case of cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla and Navy war room-accused Ravi Shankaran.