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Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi arrested in London; to be produced in court

21 March 2019

Indian businessman Nirav Modi, who was implicated in the multi-crore PNB scam, has been denied bail by a London court today.

Judge Marie Mallon made the ruling in a London court on Wednesday, after Modi, wearing a white button down shirt and black pants, said he would fight extradition.

United Kingdom police arrested Modi on Tuesday at the request of Indian authorities as he opened a bank account.

After the request letter of CBI to the International Police (INTERPOL), a red corner notice was issued under his name. He is accused of siphoning off around Rs 13,000 crore from the Punjab National Bank.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also confirmed that he has been arrested. Besides the passports, the court was told that Modi possessed multiple residency cards, some of them expired, but covering countries/regions such as the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong. The scam accused was remanded to custody till March 29th.

Modi's world began unraveling in February of past year, when India's Central Bureau of Investigation registered a First Information Report (FIR) against him, alleging he defrauded state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of some $2 billion by using phony letters of undertaking.

Prakash Javadekar, a minister in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, said all the fugitives would have to come back and "return the looted money to the nation".

The diamond merchant's arrest is a huge boost to Modi's poll campaign
The diamond merchant's arrest is a huge boost to Modi's poll campaign

Police in India later raided the homes and offices of Modi and his business partner, Mehul Choksi, seizing almost $800m in jewels and gold. An arrest warrant was issued against him two days ago on March 18.

Modi's lawyer in London, George Hepburne Scott, said he planned to fight any possible extradition, adding that Modi feels the charges against him are "politically motivated", according to Reuters.

Nirav Modi at his office in Mumbai, India, in 2016. Punjab National Bank also alleged that its own employees helped Nirav Modi in carrying big-fat scam.

It was a bank clerk who actually recognised him and called the police after which he was arrested.

A British daily had recently published a report and video showing Modi walking in the streets of London and said the fugitive diamantaire was living in a swanky 8 million pounds apartment in the city's West End and that he was involved in a new diamond business. The court was responding to a request raised by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition from the UK.

The Modi government had drawn criticism when the PNB fraud hit headlines and it came to light that Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Chowksi had left the country after reported involvement in the PNB case.

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Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi arrested in London; to be produced in court