The Westminster Magistrates Court has issued a warrant to arrest Indian diamantaire Nirav Modi, days after home secretary Sajid Javid certified India’s request to extradite him to face charges of financial irregularities running into thousands of crores of rupees.
Javid’s certification was sent to the magistrates court last week. Modi will be arrested by Scotland Yard in the near future on the basis of the warrant and produced in the court, triggering the first stage of the legal process to extradite him.
Issuing the arrest warrant implies that the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the conduct described in the request is an extradition offence, which includes the requirement for dual criminality.
Modi’s arrest can take place any moment after the warrant is issued. In the case of businessman Vijay Mallya, whose extradition case is now in the appeals court, India sent the request in 2016-end; it was certified by the home secretary on February 21, 2017.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said on Modi’s potential arrest: “We do not discuss extradition requests until and if a person has been arrested/presented before the court.”
Mallya was arrested and bailed nearly two months later on April 18, 2017, when his extradition hearings began.
Modi, whose presence in the UK was confirmed by British authorities in mid-2018, recently figured in a video released by The Daily Telegraph, walking on London streets and responding to queries by its reporters with “No comment,” most likely under legal advice.
Modi has reportedly started a new diamond business and has been living in the high-end central London apartment block called ‘Centre Point’.
Describing him as a “billionaire diamond tycoon who is India’s most wanted”, the report quoted unnamed government sources to say that Modi has been given a national insurance number, which is required to work legally in the UK. He has also been operating bank accounts online, it added.
The daily reported: “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 townhouse in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his Centre Point home”.
Modi, who is wanted in India in connection with a financial scam involving the Punjab National Bank worth thousands of crores, along with his uncle, Mehul Choksi, continues to figure in Interpol’s wanted list on its website.
The charges against him, as provided to the international police organisation by India, includes criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker merchant or agent, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, and money laundering.
Mar 18, 2019 20:49 IST
UK court issues warrant to arrest Nirav Modi – Hindustan Times