Modi claimed he has done nothing wrong and that the Rs 14,000 crore scam was a “civil transaction”.
India’s most wanted man has reportedly been seen in London. A video released by a British daily shows Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the multi-crore PNB fraud, living in a luxury flat near Oxford Street and has reportedly started a new diamond business in Soho.
The 48-year-old billionare has claimed he has done nothing wrong and that the Rs 14,000 crore scam was a “civil transaction” which was now being blown out of proportion.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who are wanted in India for loan default, fled the country in the first week of January last year after their companies were found cheating the state-run PNB of Rs 14,000 crore.
The duo has not returned to India since then despite repeated summons from probe agencies and courts.
In the video, a healthy Modi has grown a handlebar moustache. Indian government sources and other top sources have told TOI that Modi is believed to have undergone plastic surgery in London in a bid to escape extradition.
The Daily Telegraph tracked Modi down to three-bedroom £8 million apartment occupying half a floor within the luxury skyscraper called Centre Point off Tottenham Court Road, where rent is understood to be £17,000 a month. The newspaper also claims that he was now involved in a new diamond business, just a few hundred yards from his swanky apartment.
Exclusive: Telegraph journalists tracked down Nirav Modi, the billionaire diamond tycoon who is a suspect for the biggest banking fraud in India's historyhttps://t.co/PpsjGeFEsy pic.twitter.com/v3dN5NotzQ
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 8, 2019
The Telegraph wrote: “Modi appears to have adopted a surprisingly nonchalant attitude to his fugitive status, walking his small dog each day between his apartment and the diamond company’s office in a town house in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his Centre Point home. The Telegraph has also learnt from a well-placed government source that, Modi was given a national insurance number in recent months by the department for work & pensions and has been able to operate online bank accounts in the UK while wanted by Indian authorities. He has also been in contact with a wealth management company based in west London, which specialises in advice to rich foreigners. It is not clear why the British government has given him a national insurance number and yet has apparently failed to act on the Interpol red notice.”
India made a request to extradite the 48-year-old from Britain last August but the matter remains in the hands of the home secretary and the home office has so far refused to confirm or deny if it has received any such request. The request, according to a TOI report, is still on Sajid Javid’s desk who has to decide whether to certify that request and send it to the English courts.
In the Telegraph video interview, taken as he is leaving his Soho office, Modi replies “Sorry no comment” when the Telegraph reporter asks him if he has got political asylum in the UK and repeats this when asked, if he is the subject of an extradition request and whether he is still trading in diamonds. When the reporter says: “You owe a lot of people a lot of money, Modi, a lot of people who would very much like to know where you are,” he also says “No comment”.
Modi’s bungalow in Alibaug was razed to the ground on Friday.
Source: The Economic Times