India seeks warrant for celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is at the centre of the over $2 billion PNB fraud case

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is at the centre of the over $2 billion PNB fraud case

But junior home minister Kiren Rijiju appeared to confirm Nirav Modi's presence in the United Kingdom when he said in Delhi after a meeting with visiting British minister Baroness Williams: "The minister has assured all cooperation, whether it is Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya".

The billionaire jeweller has asked for political asylum, claiming what he says is "political persecution" back home, according to a Financial Times report.

The agency has written to the Interpol to issue the notice which would mean that the member countries of the Lyon-based global police cooperation agency can arrest and extradite Nirav Modi who fled the country in the first week of January, weeks before the bank filed a complaint with the CBI.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had issued non-bailable warrants against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi on 8 April.

His brother and wife were also named as accused in the FIR. However, some reports suggested that he may have acquired the citizenship of some other countries in the past.

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PNB said in February that Modi and Choksi had defrauded it by raising credit with global branches of other Indian banks, using illegal guarantees provided by rogue PNB employees. The ED, which is probing the money laundering angle in the case, had also sent requests to the Interpol in March for issuance of red corner notices (RCN) against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who too is linked to the fraud case.

Even before the scam was revealed, Modi escaped from the country and went overseas.

Indian federal police filed charges against more than 25 people in May including Modi, Choksi, former PNB chief Usha Ananthasubramanian, two of the bank's executive directors and three companies belonging to Modi.

An LoU is a guarantee given by a bank branch in India to an overseas bank that it will meet the liability if the borrower defaults.

The instructions for transferring the funds were allegedly issued by a bank employee, Gokulnath Shetty, using an global messaging system for banking called SWIFT platform and without making their subsequent entries in the PNB's internal banking software, thus bypassing scrutiny in the bank, they said.

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