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Nirav Modi's Gold Visa and new diamond business: Fresh details about tycoon’s London entry

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 16 March 2019, 11:06 AM

Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the $2 billion PNB fraud case, was given ‘Gold Visa’ by the UK government for his stay in London. Living in a palatial 8-million-pound apartment, Nirav Modi has already started a new business called Diamond Holdings. The details, which have been reported by the Times of India on Saturday, show that the absconding diamantaire is not affected by any probe back home in India.

According to the report, the ‘Gold Visa’, which was introduced by the UK government in 2008, allows a person to stay, set up business or study in the country for period of five years. The only prerequisite is that the candidate must give 2-million-pound investment commitment to the authorities.

This means that for roughly Rs 18 crore (calculated on the current exchange rates), the man behind India’s biggest banking scam is living without any trouble in the UK.

Earlier, dressed in ostrich leather jacket worth Rs 9 lakh, the absconding diamond merchant was spotted in London recently. A report last week said that that India had chance to arrest the PNB accused, but allegedly inaction on part of officials in Delhi meant that Modi was roaming free in the UK. According to an NDTV report, the UK officials had offered to arrest and extradite Modi to India. But no communication on part of Indian officials resulted in UK agencies putting the case on backburner.

The report says that the Serious Fraud Office in London had contacted Indian officials first time in February, 2018. This was the time when Delhi was frantically trying to locate the diamantaire. In March, 2018, the UK had confirmed that Modi was in London. By August, 2018, two more alerts were sent to Indian officials. UK had appointed Barry Stancombeon this case. His team sough additional information to arrest Modi. Allegedly, there was no response from Indian side. The report says that by December, 2018, the UK officials stopped pursuing New Delhi for more papers on Modi.

Meanwhile, back home, a special court on March 15 issued a non-bailable warrant against the wife of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi. The warrant against Ami Modi was issued by Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Judge M S Azmi after he took cognisance of the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Nirav Modi (48) and other accused a few days ago. The financial crime probe agency has alleged that Ami Modi used an international bank account to move $30 million, suspected to be proceeds of the scam. The funds were used to buy property located in New York's Central Park, the ED has said.

First Published: Saturday, March 16, 2019 10:19 AM
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