The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that the government has sought extradition of absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi from the UK. The request has been sent by a Special Diplomatic Bag to the High Commission of India, London for onward transmission to the UK authorities, it added.
In a written reply, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs General V K Singh, said the Interpol has issued two Red Corner Notices against Modi. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had moved the Interpol in June to issue an RCN after the UK confirmed his presence in the country.
When asked how the fugitive jeweller was travelling on an Indian passport, which was suspended by the government on February 24, Singh said the ministry has no means to verify his travels, if any, or the passport being used. The Indian Express was the first to report that Modi used an Indian passport to travel four times in March between the US, UK and Hong Kong.
Nirav and his uncle Mehul Choksi are wanted in connection with the Rs 13,578-crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is being probed by the CBI and the ED. Nirav and Choksi fled the country in January, weeks before the scam was detected.
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The Indian government, meanwhile, has also approached Antigua and Barbuda to extradite Choksi. Officials have assured New Delhi that the extradition request will be considered after a RCN is issued against him. The Interpol Thursday informed the CBI that Choksi was present in the Caribbean island nations. Choksi became a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018, days after he fled India.
What is a Red Corner Notice?
An RCN is similar to an arrest warrant. When it is issued by the Interpol, all countries are mandated to apprehend the fugitive if s/he is in their country or tries to leave. After filing chargesheets against Nirav Modi, both the CBI and ED had approached the Interpol to issue an RCN against Modi and Choksi. It is a lengthy process to get a notice issued.