India is ready to set in motion extradition proceedings against Nirav Modi from the UK after receiving confirmation from authorities here that it was possible to launch such proceedings even without official confirmation of the exact location of the individual, including whether the individual was in the country.
Sources in London said the confirmation, that extradition proceedings without precise details of an individual’s whereabouts could be commenced in Britain, was made by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Services, with whom information discussions have been taking place, alongside discussions with Britain’s Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as India attempts to pinpoint the precise location of the fugitive jeweller.
India’s discussions with British authorities have been complicated by a number of issues, including data protection, which have meant that India is yet to ascertain whether or not Modi, accused of a ₹13,000-crore fraud, has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain.
Extradition proceedings would be particularly relevant if Modi possesses ILR — which would require India to proceed down the extradition route as it had in its attempt to return Vijay Mallya to the country (he has indefinite leave to remain in Britain). However, reports, including in the Financial Times, that Modi had claimed political asylum in Britain, in an effort to remain here, would suggest that he did not possess ILR, and this would lead India down the route of seeking his deportation, rather than full-blown extradition proceedings.
There is also a certain degree of confusion on his exact whereabouts. While he is believed to be in the UK, the last recorded exit date on one of the multiple passports thought to have been in Modi’s possession was from the UK to Paris in late March, a source said. While Modi is thought to have travelled to the UK before February 19, when India sent the note verbale to make UK authorities aware of the allegations and the cancellation of his passport, the source said he was believed to have been in possession of multiple passports, and that British authorities had indicated that trips had been made on these in and out of Britain.
Earlier this week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that it had sent a request to the Interpol for issuing a Red Notice against Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. India has sent three Letter Rogatories (LRs) in the cases lodged by the ED, CBI and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to the UK seeking assistance in its investigation against Modi in March and April, which had been forwarded to the Serious Fraud Office.