Indian jewellery tycoon Nirav Modi has reportedly sought ‘asylum’ in United Kingdom claiming political persecution in India. Modi, who’s accused of masterminding Rs 13,578-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case in India, is in London trying to claim asylum from what he calls “political persecution”, reported Reuters quoting Financial Times.
In its report headlined, ‘Indian celebrity jeweller flees to UK claiming political asylum,’ Financial Times also added that Indian government was waiting for the country’s law enforcement agencies to approach them before pushing for an extradition, which had thus far not happened.
Serious questions may be raised as to how Modi managed to travel to London from New York, where he was believed to have fled to after leaving India earlier this year. The Indian government in February this year had said that it had revoked the passports of Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. However, some reports suggested that he may have acquired the citizenship of some other countries in the past.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that a letter rogatory had been sent to British authorities by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, seeking investigation and information on Modi, who arrived in the UK before his Indian passport was revoked in February.
Modi, his wife Ami (American citizen), brother Nishal (Belgian national) and uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi had left India reportedly in the first week of January. He was later seen posing for group photo with the Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum’s annual meet in Davos.
Britain’s Home Office, which deals with the asylum requests, has reportedly refused to confirm or deny the reports of Modi seeking political asylum saying that ‘it does not provide information on individual cases.’
If the FT report on Modi seeking asylum in London is true, then he would have become the second top Indian fugitive taking refuge in England after Vijay Mallya, who the Indian authorities are currently seeking to get extradited.
Mallya, whose defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs. 9,000 crore to various banks, had left India on 2 March 2016.