UK’s claims that India did not respond to ‘queries’ in regards to the fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s case comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in London told the NDTV that India had sent an alert to the UK under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in February 2018. And this was after the CBI first registered the criminal case against Modi for swindling the Punjab National Bank of Rs13, 000 crores.
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It is learned that the SFO also assigned a counsel, Barry Stancombe to help India with the case. Stancombe and her team asked for more documents, through three letters to India and were even willing to travel to India to collect the same, but they didn’t get any response.
By December, the SFO stopped pursuing the Nirav Modi case, citing ‘lack of interest’ on India’s part. In this period, Modi strengthened his case with a legal team to work on his request for asylum.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs said that by the month of August they had sent two extradition requests from the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In regards to request for more documents from SFP, the Ministry said they are not aware. The MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said they are taking all necessary steps to extradite Nirav Modi.
Last Friday, the British newspaper The Telegraph revealed that Modi was indeed living in an apartment in London’s West End and has started diamond business.