The ED has written to the external affairs ministry seeking its approval to move an application in the relevant UK court to bring back Modi who is an accused in the Rs 11,000 crore PNB fraud scam.
New Delhi: Diamond merchant Nirav Modi, an accused in the Rs 11,000-crore PNB fraud scam, is in the UK, sources in the Enforcement Directorate have said.
The ED has written a letter to the ministry of external affairs seeking its approval to move an application to the competent court in the UK to initiate the extradition proceedings.
“After MEA gives an approval to our request, then the matter is taken up with the competent court abroad, in this case, United Kingdom,” an ED source said.
The move comes after a special CBI court in Mumbai had issued non-bailable warrants against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi on 8 April.
The 1992 extradition treaty between India and the UK requires proof of arrest warrants issued by a judge against the accused in the home state, along with the extradition request.
Until now, it was believed that Modi, wanted in connection with the scam, was in Hong Kong, where he also runs a showroom. He runs another jewellery showroom in Beijing.
According to sources, the move was initiated to carry out further investigation in the case filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Modi and his associates.
The fraud was detected at PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai after it was found that some letters of undertaking (LoUs) and foreign letters of credit (FLCs) were fraudulently issued to some overseas branches of Indian banks by misusing SWIFT, a messaging network that banks use to securely transmit information and instructions through a system of codes.
It was during the scrutiny of SWIFT records that the scam came to the fore.
Punjab National Bank (PNB), in its complaint, directly accused Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, and uncle Choksi of conniving with the two bank official to commit the fraud.
According to CBI investigators, 293 LoUs were issued to Modi and his companies in the past two years. An LoU is not a loan; it is a guarantee given by a bank branch in India to an overseas bank that it will meet the liability if the firm borrowing from it (the foreign bank) defaults.
During investigation, several raids were carried out in the matter and the ED until now, has searched more than 251 properties across the country and seized diamond, jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones and gold worth crores of rupees, along with immovable properties belonging to Modi and Choksi worth Rs 8,000 crore.