India Abroad

Absconding Nirav Modi Flees To Brussels After Reports Of Seeking Political Asylum In London

| June 14 , 2018 , 13:42 IST

Absconding jeweller Nirav Modi, who became infamous after the PNB scam, is said to have fled to Brussels in Belgium on Wednesday, soon after media reports that he was seeking political asylum in London.

"He travelled to Brussels on Tuesday or Wednesday, straight after the story revealing he was in Mayfair," a source close to the Indian government said to TOI.

According to reports, Modi, who is wanted for scamming Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,700 crore, has been travelling in and out of the UK freely on a Singapore passport and not an Indian one.

The CBI had on Monday requested Interpol for a red corner notice against Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal who is a Belgian national and on Tuesday a special court in Mumbai issued a non-bailable warrant against Nirav Modi and his family members.

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However, since Nirav Modi is reportedly travelling without using his Indian passport and using a Singapore passport instead, there is limited action that Interpol can take.

"The Indian government has been informed by Interpol that there has been no movement detected on his Indian passport since March 31 so he is definitely not using his Indian passport," said the source.

"If he is on a Singapore passport, the Indian government can't do anything as the non-bailable warrant is against his Indian passport. They would need to put pressure on the Singapore government. This leads to an issue between the Indian government and Interpol," the source said.

However, Indian High Commission sources in London speaking to TOI said they do not know which passport Nirav Modi is using.

"We cannot tell which passport he is using. Only UK immigration, which allowed him to enter the UK, knows which passport he is using. We know that he is coming in and out of the UK. If someone enters India, then we know which passport they entered on, so only the UK home office knows the answers," Indian high commission sources said.

The Rs 12,700 crore fraud by jeweller Nirav Modi and his associates took place early this year by acquiring fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) from a Mumbai branch of the Punjab National Bank, issued in the name of the bank.