Nirav Modi, the fraud Indian jeweller who was at the heart of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam earlier this year in the 13,000 crore fraud case flees to United Kingdom (UK) seeking political asylum according to officials in both countries. The Britain’s Home Office said it does not provide information on individual cases. Nirav Modi couldn’t be contacted by the local media for any comment.
In 2018, PNB which is India’s second-largest state-run bank said that two jewelry groups headed by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded it of about $2.2 billion dollars by raising credit from overseas branches of other Indian banks using illegal guarantees issued by rogue PNB staff of a Mumbai branch over several years.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed charges against more than 25 people in May including Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, former PNB chief Usha Ananthasubramanian, two of the bank’s executive directors and three companies belonging to Nirav Modi. But Modi and Choksi had denied of any wrong-doings.
Till now no banks or the Indian police had been unable to find the celebrity jeweller, but officials in India and the UK say he is in London, where his company has one store. Nirav Modi’s jewellery was worn by celebrities and film stars like Kate Winslet and Priyanka Chopra. The Quantico star Priyanka Chopra is also the brand ambassador of the defrauder’s jewellery brand.
Last years Vijay Malaya,a liquor and aviation tycoon and the former CMD of the Kingfisher Airlines who also was the co-owner of the Formula One Force India team also fled the country with 9000 Crore rupees on his head. He was involved in a 1.2 billion dollars scam where 14 banks were trying to reach him to get their money, but Malaya fled to the UK. And following suit Modi too fled to the West to escape the law and the reaches of the Indian law as well as the banks he took loans from. It seems like the West has become a safe haven for the defrauders as the Indian law doesn’t apply to them once they flee the country. And the presence of another Indian fugitive in Britain has the potential to cause to further degrade the country’s relationship with India.