India's fugitive Nirav Modi has dominated social media conversations in India ever since Britain's The Telegraph newspaper posted a video of its reporter confronting the billionaire businessman in London.
According to CBI, Diamond merchant Nirav Modi wanted for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of over Rs 13,000 crore, left India with his family on January 1, 2018.
Reacting to the newspaper report, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, said, "When Lalit Modi stayed on in the U.K., I wrote to the U.K. Chancellor that he should be sent back to India".
The Daily Telegraph tracked Modi down to three-bedroom £8 million apartment occupying half a floor within the luxury skyscraper called Centre Point off Tottenham Court Road, where rent is understood to be £17,000 a month. When the publication asked Modi outside his office whether he'd applied for political asylum to enjoy such liberties, the billionaire refused to comment. While Nirav Modi is living in the United Kingdom, Mehul Choksi has become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. The extradition file related to Nirav Modi was forwarded by the UK Home Office to the Westminster Court just two days back, reported India Today, adding the Indian agencies were already aware of these developments.
Nirav Modi, against whom an extradition request is pending before the United Kingdom authorities, was seen sporting a handlebar moustache with full face beard.
The revelation comes a day after Modi's 30,000 sq ft seaside mansion at Kihim beach in Maharashtra's Raigad district was demolished by authorities using explosives for alleged violation of coastal regulation rules.
Britain's Department of Work and Pensions has also granted the businessman a National Insurance number, The Telegraph reported quoting unidentified government officials. The business is close to his home and was incorporated last May.
The government can not extradite Nirav Modi just because he has been spotted in London, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, told ANI in an interview. Nirav is apparently in contact with a wealth management firm in west London, which is famous for offering advice to rich foreigners.
A spokesman for India's foreign ministry said the government knew that Modi was in London.
The United Kingdom has responded to the Red Corner Notice issued by the agency against Nirav in June previous year, he said.