India hands over Nirav Modi extradition request to UK authorities

Vidya Ram | Updated on August 04, 2018

Nirav Modi

Extradition proceedings will be particularly relevant if Nirav Modi possesses indefinite leave to remain

The Indian High Commission in London has handed over the official request to extradite Nirav Modi to UK authorities. Earlier this week, the Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh, had said in Parliament that the request had been sent to London in a diplomatic bag.

Official sources here confirmed that the request has now been passed on to the UK Central Agency, thereby putting the measures in place for action should it emerge that Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with the ₹13,578-crore Punjab National Bank fraud, is in the UK.

In June, India had received confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Services here that it would be possible to launch extradition proceedings against him even without official confirmation of his exact location, including whether he was in the country.

India’s discussions with British authorities on the issue have been complicated by a number of issues, including around data protection, which have meant that India is yet to ascertain whether or not Nirav Modi, accused of a ₹13,000 crore fraud, has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain.

Extradition proceedings would be particularly relevant if Nirav Modi possessed ILR — which would require India to proceed down the extradition route as it had in its attempt to return Vijay Mallya to the country (he has indefinite leave to remain in Britain).

However, reports, including in the Financial Times earlier this year, that Nirav Modi had claimed political asylum in Britain, in an effort to remain here, would suggest that he did not possess ILR, and this would lead India down the route of seeking his deportation, rather than full-blown extradition proceedings.

In addition, while Nirav Modi’s uncle, Mehul Choksi has taken citizenship of the Caribbean island of Antigua, Nirav Modi’s location remains unknown.

India had sent three Letters Rogatory (LRs) in the cases lodged by the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the UK seeking assistance in its investigation against Nirav Modi in March and April, which had been forwarded to the Serious Fraud Office.

In early July, Interpol had issued a Red Notice against Nirav Modi and two others on the request of the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, which have invoked criminal and money laundering charges against them.

The Red Notice restricts a fugitive's movement in 192 member-countries of the Interpol, and empowers enforcement agencies to detain the person for deportation or extradition to the requesting country.

India and the UK have had an extradition treaty in place since 1993 but only one person has been extradited to date. Among those currently sought by India include Mallya, alleged bookie, Sanjeev Chawla, and Tiger Hanif.

Published on August 04, 2018

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