Diamond dealer wanted for huge bank scam 'seeking asylum in UK'

Nirav Modi has been untraceable ever since news broke of the Rs 12,000-crore PNB fraud case

Nirav Modi has been untraceable ever since news broke of the Rs 12,000-crore PNB fraud case

The report, which quoted Indian and British officials, said Modi had sought protection from "political persecution". However, New Delhi has delayed the signing of the final agreement, apparently due to the concerns raised by certain quarters in the government, another official said. Besides, India has also made it clear that it will accept those Indians whose Indian nationality is established after verification within a fortnight.

Stars such as Kate Winslet, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Naomi Watts, have been seen wearing his products.

A spokesman for Britain's Home Office said: "We do not comment on individual cases".

Punjab National Bank, India's second-largest state-run bank, said earlier in 2018 that two jewellery groups headed by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded it of about $2.2 billion by raising credit from other Indian banks using illegal guarantees issued by rogue PNB staff.

The development came just as the Central Bureau of Investigation, which probing the multi-crore fraud case, moved the Interpol seeking a red corner notice against Modi and his jeweller uncle Mehul Choksi, who is also a prime accused in the case.

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Modi, the third generation of his family to go into the diamond trade, is worth $1.73 billion according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India's rich list.

The Enforcement Directorate, India's financial fraud-investigating agency, had unsuccessfully approached Interpol in March for an global arrest warrant.

India is already seeking the extradition of Vijay Mallya, a liquor and aviation tycoon, over unpaid loans to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines after the businessman and co-owner of the Force India Formula One team moved to Britain in March previous year.

It recently announced a $32 billion recapitalization plan to help them clean up their books ahead of the general election in 2019.

Last month PNB posted the largest ever quarterly loss for an Indian lender - 134.17 billion rupees - largely because it had to set aside funds to pay other banks over the scam. The case has soured British-Indian relations. United Kingdom minister of state for counter-terrorism Baroness Williams on Monday took up the issue with Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju, asking New Delhi to formalise the agreement, officials said.

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