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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said: "the UK Home Secretary has referred India's request to extradite fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi to a court there for initiating legal proceedings."
"The UK Central Authority of Home Office has confirmed that the extradition request has been sent to the Westminster Magistrate Court for further proceedings," said an official. The request to the court was forwarded by the UK Home Office a few days ago, the official added.
Enforcement Directorate: Request for extradition of Nirav Modi to India was sent in July 2018 to UK. The UK Central Authority of Home Office has confirmed that the extradition request has been sent to Westminster Magistrate Court for the District Judge for further proceedings pic.twitter.com/IM6lt4clO7— ANI (@ANI) March 9, 2019
The long-drawn extradition process of fugitive Nirav Modi — who has been in London for nearly a year after leaving India in the wake of allegations of major financial rows — is set to begin in British courts after home secretary Sajid Javid certified India’s request.
The request for extradition of Nirav Modi wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, was sent to the UK authorities in July 2018.
His remarks came after the Daily Telegraph on Saturday released a video showing a different-looking Modi on the streets of London, where he has had a diamond store since 2014 when his company — Nirav Modi Limited — was registered with the registrar of companies.
Earlier in the day, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, based on the information received from the ED and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), the Ministry had made the request for Nirav Modi's extradition with the UK authorities in August 2018.
"The UK is yet to respond and is considering our request for extradition of Nirav Modi," Kumar said. Despite whatever we see on television today, the "status remains the same", he added.
When asked about the last communication from UK authorities, he said: "As far as the Ministry of External Affairs is concerned, when we make a request for extradition then that request is sent on behalf of the investigative agencies. In the last six months, we have not received any request for any other documents."
On February 26, the ED attached Rs 147 crore properties of Modi and his associate companies in connection with the PNB probe.
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Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are under the CBI and the ED probe. The ED filed money laundering cases against them and others on February 15 on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI.
Javid’s certification - the first stage of the extradition process - has been sent to the Westminster Magistrates Court, officials involved with the process said on Saturday. If the court is satisfied that enough information has been supplied, an arrest warrant will be issued.