10 March, 2019
Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi is lavishly living in the open in London, despite being wanted back home for an alleged £2bn ($2.6bn) scam against India's Punjab National Bank (PNB), the Telegraph has reported, after tracking down the elusive businessman.
A two-minute video of the street encounter posted on Twitter provided the first visuals of Nirav, 48, in the British capital since he fled India early previous year.
While the Indian government is trying tooth and nail to capture the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, he appeared to be living and roaming freely in the UK's capital city London in a slightly new avatar.
Separately, he is being sued in the State of California for defrauding 4.2 million dollars from Los Angeles entrepreneur Paul Alfonso; in October 2018, Modi sold two custom diamond engagement rings to Alfonso that turned out to be lab diamonds.
In December past year, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) served notice to Nirav Modi, his family members and his companies to recover over Rs 7,000 crore owed to Punjab National Bank (PNB). The newspaper also posted a video where the absconding bank-fraud accused, sporting a 10000-pounds (Rs 9 lakh approximately) Ostrich Hide jacket, is seen responding to a volley of questions with repeated "No comments". The rent of the apartment is estimated to be around 17,000 pounds a month.
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Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who are wanted in India for loan default, fled the country in the first week of January a year ago after their companies were found cheating the state-run PNB of Rs 14,000 crore. Later, India asked Britain to extradite him after reports said he had entered that country.
On Friday, the PNB scam accused's bungalow in Alibag at Raigad district in India was demolished by the authorities on orders of the Bombay High Court for violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
The Telegraph's report, which included a video interview with the fugitive businessman, claimed that Nirav Modi had been given a Nation Insurance number, which allows him to work in the UK. Nirav is apparently in contact with a wealth management firm in west London, which is famous for offering advice to rich foreigners. The reasons for the apparent failure to act on the Interpol red notice are also not known.
When confronted by the newspaper, Modi refused to comment if he has been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom or whether he is still trading in diamonds.