Nirav Modi Seeks Political Asylum in UK

Mumbai: Diamantaire Nirav Modi, wanted for 11,000-crore bank scam, is trying ways and means to avoid returning to India. According to a report in NDTV, Nirav Modi is attempting to hire a lawyer who can help him get political asylum in the United Kingdom.

Nirav Modi, who flew out of India on January 1, days before the CBI registered a case against him, is believed to be in New York.

The billionaire jeweller, who is accused of defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), has approached at least two firms in the United Kingdom, sources informed NDTV.

One of them is Boutique Law, a firm linked to Indian-origin lawyer Anand Doobay who specialises in criminal and regulatory matters including fraud, extradition and money laundering.

The other company whose services Nirav Modi is learnt to have sought is Mishcon De Reya. NDTV queries to both firms remained unanswered.

Anand Doobay is among lawyers who work with another wanted businessman Vijay Mallya, who is already a resident in the UK.

According to legal experts, UK is a preferred destination for seeking asylum because of its fair legal system which gives considerable weightage to human rights.

Nirav Modi has apparently sought asylum on the grounds that he faces political persecution in India. India has a poor record of extradition cases filed in courts in the UK — failing most recently in cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla and Navy war room-accused Ravi Shankaran’s cases.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) when contacted by NDTV said it had no information of Nirav Modi’s latest move. “We have a diffusion notice out with the Interpol which means that if he moves internationally, they will inform us,” said a CBI spokesperson.

Sources to NDTV say that Nirav Modi went from India to the UAE, then to Hong Kong and London. He left the UK a couple of months ago and is now believed to be in New York. He is reportedly still travelling on his Indian passport that was cancelled by the government in February.